Photo above from left to right, Chris, Josh and Jodie in 'El Nivel'
Jodie and Josh have become dear friends. When I experienced her meeting Chris Watson- a very dear friend for many years- I asked her to write it down.
Below you will find Jodie's story.
My Pacifico Story
“Never love anybody who treats you like you’re ordinary”.
I don’t believe Oscar Wilde was talking specifically about my love affair with Café Pacifico when he wrote those words, but I couldn’t phrase it in a more astute way. As with all great love stories, it had an unconventional beginning. It was a quiet Sunday evening in Covent Garden, with only a handful of tourists still on the street. I had read an excellent review of Café Pacifico, and as a complete foodie I just couldn’t leave without visiting. When my boyfriend, Josh and I arrived at the discreet alley-like street that plays host to the cantina, we began to think we had made a mistake coming this late in the evening. It just seemed too quiet. It wasn’t until we opened the door to the cantina that we realised just how wrong we had been.
I would compare my experience that night to seeing colour for the first time. The sounds and smells were comfortingly overwhelming, and every seat was filled with excited characters. There was no demographic - both old and young, businesspeople in suits to tourist shoppers. We fit in. Everyone fit in.
The host must have seen the look on our faces, as he quickly realised that it was our first time. He talked to us like he was greeting an old friend, and after being shown to our seats I had already felt like I had been there a thousand times. The rest of the night passed in euphoric blur; but it was that evening that Josh and I decided to move to London. If this is what the Capital had to offer, we were wasting our lives being anywhere else.
Fast forward a couple of years, and we were finally moving into our little box apartment in Notting Hill. Naturally we celebrated moving to London at Café Pacifico - but the celebrations haven’t stopped since we have arrived! Any little thing worth celebrating and we find ourselves back at the restaurant with our extended Pacifico family.
This, of course, is where the story could have ended.
Whilst having dinner in the cantina one evening, we were told that a new bar and restaurant had opened up in Covent Garden, specialising in agave spirits, cocktails and Mexican tapas. Anything that had a touch of Pacifico charm was worth visiting, and we pencilled in a date to visit the following week. The bar itself could not have been more aesthetically different from the cantina; it was light and airy, softly decorated and quiet. However, any doubts of its Pacifico-origin were cast aside when those who worked there greeted us as friends. That evening was the first time we really tasted tequila, and I truly believe that El Nivel serves some of the best food in the entirety of London.
It wasn’t until a couple of visits later that we met both Tomas Estes and Jesse Estes. By this time we were already impassioned Pacifico lovers, and visiting both El Nivel and Café Pacifico had become such an intrinsic part of our lives. I will never forget the day that we met Tomas; listening to his stories ignites something passionate within me, and I feel so privileged that Josh and I have had the chance to play a small part in the Pacifico story. Naturally, we have been coming back here ever since. It became our Café Pacifico ‘love-child’.
I’ve met some wonderful, interesting people over the past year at El Nivel, but last week, whilst celebrating El Nivel’s ‘first birthday’, I had the opportunity to meet someone who I have wanted to meet even before I first stepped foot in London.
As an undergraduate law student, I was finding it difficult to decide on an area of law that I felt personally and professionally passionate about. That was until I had the fortune of watching Chris Watson, primarily a lawyer in the technology industry, on an early-morning news programme. For the first time in my legal career I had an ‘a-ha’ moment; hearing Chris talk so vehemently about his practice inspired me in a way that university had failed to do.
That night was one of those unique times in life where you feel so intrinsically fortunate. Chris Watson walked into El Nivel, as a good friend of Tomas, with some of the best legal minds within the technology sector. I ended that night sipping Mexican 55s on their table; an experience many senior lawyers would have killed for.
That, of course, is only one of the many incredible nights I have spent in that bar. Some of the best nights of my life have been spent in the company of my Pacifico family, and nothing I can write will do my story justice. My love affair with both of these incredible places will continue to grow, and as articulated by Oscar Wilde, “never love anybody who treats you like you’re ordinary”, and I have never felt ordinary here.