Carolyn Collins headed to Maya Mexican restaurant to take a break from the world and get a much-needed boost.

Had a hard day and in need of something to lift your energy? Then this is the place to go! To enter Maya, you step through what looks like a flat wall to find a massive buzz on the other side.

Maya Mexican restaurant

Welcomed by a warm, friendly smile, we were escorted to our table in the middle of the restaurant where we could fully experience the fizzing ambience all around us. Should you be a little hard of hearing in crowds, then I would definitely recommend you ask for a table on the side against the wall as it would be easier to talk and definitely lighter – but, if you want to enjoy the full South of the Border experience, getting central is the way to go.

If you find the atmospheric lighting a challenge when reading the menu, don’t worry a light is available and all the staff are impressively knowledgeable and obviously very passionate about the food, so they’re more than happy to help guide your choices and you don’t really need to read too much at all. Coming from a hospitality background, I was very impressed with the service throughout.

While we waited for our choices, we were brought some homemade tortilla chips and traditional guacamole, which was divine and the ideal way to start our Mexican journey.

We then shared the Seabass Tiradito, aguachile, a traditional dish with slices of raw seabass, submerged in liquid and seasoned with chilli peppers, lime, cilantro, cucumber and onion, similar to a ceviche, which was beautifully presented and was mixed for us at the table. It came with Recado Negro, which is one of the more unusual and distinctive flavour bases in Mexican cooking and actually comes from the Maya regions. It’s like a thick spice paste with a warming flavour both piquant and sweet. It is heavy on the char with the spiciness from burnt chilli, depth from charred garlic and a touch of the exotic from the toasted spices, which really made the dish. To be honest this isn’t usually my type of dish but I was keen to try it and I was so pleased I did. It had a bite to it and left a light warmth on the palate but the cucumber perfectly cooled and balanced the dish.

Next, we tried the amazing selection of tacos, all of them so fresh and full of flavour. My favourite was the Camaron, battered shrimp with mixed cabbage, pickled onion and macha cream on a flour tortilla. Such a great combination of flavours and textures. The avocado with coriander dressing, beans, pico de gallo, cilantro corn tortilla and crunchy quinoa, was also simply delicious and proved you don’t need meat or fish to enjoy an outstanding taco.

Next was the dessert and, of course, we had to try them all! I just love Churros and these were perfectly cooked with a light crunch and served with a caramel and chocolate sauce. So satisfying to bite through the crunchy exterior to the soft, fluffy insides. The gorgeous chocolate cake had a delightful cinnamon crumble and the Tres Leches had to be my favourite, a cake soaked in all the naughtiness of evaporated and condensed milk and cream and served with the most amazing passionfruit sorbet, wow that was a real winner. Then to finish it all off, I had to have the perfect pot of green tea!

Throughout, I was really absorbed by the atmosphere and vibe and was very interested to see that there were many single diners, couples, party celebrations and groups of ladies, just having a fun night out. It really is such an easy place to leave all the hassles of the day behind you.

Definitely one to add to your list of places to go for a fun, vibrant and fulfilling night out. ✤