Naming a Mexican restaurant after Frida Kahlo is an act of courage. And a passionate statement about how best to convey the idea of Mexico (and Mexican food) to the wider world. For Kahlo, born in the early 20th century, just before the 1910 Mexican revolution, is associated with paintings that broke numerous taboos. She had passionate views on the frailty of the body, birth, life and death; race and being a woman.
Though now regarded as one of the most significant artists of the 20th century, Kahlo was, undoubtedly, eccentric, fiery and unashamedly individualist.
From the wine (the L.A. Cetto chardonnay from Baja California is a fruity, unoaked treat) to the clams Ahogadas (sauteed with roasted ancho pepper, garlic and white wine sauce and served with garlic bread), Casa Frida gets it just right. The chicken molay has exactly the right amount of chocolate, the black beans are more-ish, the roast pork corn taco is meltingly fragrant with cinnamon. The wine is a good liquid lesson in Mexican history reminding us that in 1524, Hernan Cortes, planted grape vines, making Mexico the oldest wine region in the Americas.
The restaurant is small, bright and visually interesting with Kahlo’s face (complete with its incipient moustache) staring down at diners.
The food and the ambience underlines the enormous distance between Tex-Mex and ‘real’ food from Mexico.