February 10, 2011 in Uncategorized
With love in the air it is time for me to write about one of my best-loved cuisines and a country I fell in love with several years ago. Mexico. The food of Mexico – and I mean the authentic stuff, not the yellow cheese-sprinkled Tex-Mex we are often served in restaurants – is full of flavour, passion and earthiness.
I was overjoyed when I discovered El Burro in Somerset Road, Greenpoint Cape Town late last year.
The décor is sexy modern Mexican. Definitely my choice for a fun Valentine’s date this year. The owners managed to strike a good balance between vibey and cosy, and although many of the patrons are cool young things the fiesta-like atmosphere makes everyone feel welcome.
I’ve had more than one meal at El Burro, so don’t think I had all this food in one sitting. The portions are generous and it was difficult to fit even half a starter and a main in.
With what I can only describe as one of the best Margaritas I’ve had in my life.
Owner Nic had this to say: “Our margaritas are done “tommy’s” style. Tommy’s is one of the original and certainly most famous Mexican restaurants in the states, in San Fran. Tommy is the official tequila ambassador to the USA now, yes the Mex government have tequila ambassadors! Maragarita recipe: Tequila, Agave syrup(ours is organic), fresh hand squeezed Lime Juice. Shaken with ice, poured onto fresh ice.”
Then eat something…
The ceviche is definitely the one to have if you have a discerning palate. Beautiful fresh fish finely chopped and served raw with a punchy dressing, it is a perfect light starter yet really moreish. For vegetarians I would recommend the corn on the cob, blackened and smothered in cheese. Sounds weird but it is good.
Then drink something
The have an impressive line-up of imported tequila. Mine came with a little shot glass on the side filled with a kind of spicy tomato juice. The idea being that you take a sip of the tequila and a sip of the tomato juice. No body shots here. It was delicious and the tequila with it’s delicate clean aftertaste a revelation.
Then eat big
So much delicious food so little time. I couldn’t resist the beef shortrib with tacos. The meat is cooked almost like I can remember my grandmother old-fashioned pies. Soft and juicy and stringy. Scoop it up in a soft tortillas and add some of the scrumptious salsas – the roasted tomato salsa is just unbelievable. Smoky, sweet and charred – with this something that I couldn’t place but couldn’t get enough of either. The guacamole lacked something, but perhaps I’m just a guac snob because I like my chunky with a hint of chili and lots of lime like I make it at home.
On my second visit I had the fish tacos which were less successful. They are lightly battered and the fish was certainly very fresh and firm, but I found them a bit dry and bland.
Owner Nic had this to say about the fish tacos: “Oh the bloody fish taco! Have we had a battle getting this one right. We have changed the batter 5 times! Finally settling on the corn flour and chilli batter, this stays crispier than all the others, which is key. I have had great feedback on the Fish tacos the last week since we settled on a recipe, I am hoping that your dry fish last night was an anomaly.”
Next time I will definitely have the prawn tacos instead (if I can resist the beef shortrib). I had such order envy because my dining partner tucked into some quesadillas topped with field mushrooms that were uber delciousness. Overall good variety here for vegetarians.
Their specials menu had a variety of dishes on it that I drooled over – specifically an enchilada that I will order on my next visit.
Before you leave
Have some more tequila. This is a fun place. Care is taken with the food and the service is really excellent and hands-on.
Oh and have some dessert – the crème brulee came in a nest of caramel spun sugar and was the perfect end to a fabulous evening.
Cape Town, Western Cape