What do you call cheese that’s not yours? No, don’t worry. There’s no room here for cheesy jokes: this is an earnest spiel about a new taco joint in Bath that’s adding serious edge to the city, and we’re not going to spoil it with a cheap pun. (That wouldn’t be like us at all.)
If you haven’t already heard of it, Dos Dedos, the dinky den on Edgar Mews, is cool and urban: you might say it’s nacho average Bath eatery. (Ahem.)
When it comes to assets, Bath is well stocked, with its grand architecture, big green spaces and boutique shops. There are fine dining joints and cosy pubs with quality brews at many turns, too.
But what it does lack are the laid-back food joints that you can duck into, happily wearing your sweats and leaving formalities at the door, while still knowing you’re going to be in for a top feed. For this kind of casual dining, the masses flock to Bristol.
However, the landscape is changing, and in the last few years a few eateries have opened that are more boilersuit-and-high- tops than cashmere-Toast-cardi. Electric Bear Brewing Co in its edgy industrial location on Brassmill Lane, for example; Magu diner on Moorland Road, which serves up vegan chilli cheese fries and a ‘mac’ burger; and cool, friendly seafood joint The Scallop Shell on Monmouth Place.
And now there’s Dos Dedos, the Mexican cantina that opened in October, riding on the coattails of the nation’s new love affair with mezcal (tequila’s smokier-flavoured sister) and ongoing appreciation of tacos.
Owner Harry Bret knows a thing or two about sharp bars – he owns The Common Room and The Hideout – but here, at his third venture, there’s more focus on the nosh. He got bitten by the taco bug while travelling through Guatemala, Mexico and Belize, and has brought the fresh and fiery flavours back to Bath, to a former art gallery.
The welcoming bar gleams enticingly as you enter the hip little hideout, heavily stocked with warm lighting and glittering glass bottles. The vibe is ‘reclaimed’ – timber bar, mismatched stools and furnishings that look like they’ve been sourced from the city’s finest fleas. The backdrop is exposed brick, roughly whitewashed.
We eschew the high tables and stools, choosing instead to flop onto comfortable low, velvet-feel backed seating to get a good view of the hubbub.
The house cocktails are worth the trip alone – a smoky mezcal Negroni and four different Margaritas are just a few of the offerings that need to be worked through. Tonight, for me, it’s a Michelada – a Mexican beer with tomato juice, hot sauce, chilli and lime. Sounds weird, tastes supreme. You can add an extra kick with a shot of mezcal or tequila – a lively Bloody Mary with a fizzy twist. Either way, you’ll be licking that chilli- salt rim clean and ordering another before you know it.
When it comes to the food, you need to forget about airs and graces – this is finger food that’s going to get dirty. The menu’s simple: essentially four toppings – chilli chicken, beef and black bean chilli, portobello mushroom and black bean chilli, or pork shoulder – which are loaded up into tacos, onto nachos or as rice bowls.
We get going with the chilli chicken nachos (£7.95) – yellow and black chips piled high with lashings of shredded meat. There’s a moreish chilli kick and cinnamon warmth in the chicken and generous amounts of guacamole, salsa, cheese and sour cream. No chip goes unslathered.
The slow-roasted pork shoulder with herb, citrus and spice seasoning that fills our soft flour tortillas – made by The Little Tortilleria in Bristol – is juicy, full of flavour, and plentiful (£7.95). While a Mexican might crave a crisp skin for bite, we’re stoked with the three generously filled tacos.
A blue-and-white enamel bowl comes loaded with rice and chunky slow-cooked beef chilli. It’s a filling meal with quality meat and great flavours – not to mention top value at £6.95.
With a friendly team, dogs-allowed policy and kids welcome ’til 6pm, this is a cool city hangout with a neighbourhood vibe that’s totally Mexcellent. Roll up your sleeves and get stuck in.
(Oh, and by the way: ‘nacho cheese’ is what you call it, obviously.)
Dos Dedos, Edgar Mews, Bartlett Street, Bath BA1 2QZ