I’ve often looked over at this place in curiousity all the times I’ve been lining up outside Jamie’s Italian, and its taken me some time to find the right person and right occasion to visit this place. I love good Mexican food – not quite the salsas, burritos, and mountains of sour cream, but refreshing, punchy dishes such as a delicate coconut ceviche, fish and prawn tacos or my favourite grilled corn. I made a booking for a Tuesday evening for two, visiting with my friend Persian Princess for a girly catch up.
We had an early booking of six, and the restaurant was relatively deserted, with only a few other keen beans there straight after work. The restaurant filled up very quickly over the duration of our dinner and became packed out; surprising for a Tuesday evening. It was all well-dressed, trendy-looking young women and men in their early twenties and thirties; a cheerful, chatty crowd and the noise reverberated around the restaurant’s brick walls and hard surfaces, making it quite hard to hear.]
The restaurant is all bold patterns and colours, edgy designs and has an up-market, high-energy vibe. Probably not quite the place for a romantic dinner for two, but certainly if you’re keen to mingle and chatter amongst the chic crowd.
We go with a few dishes to share, starting with the Guacamole: smashed table side ($14), with avocados, serrano chilli, toasted pistachios, herbs and citrus, served with golden plantain chips. If you’re uncomfortable with someone coming up to your table and pounding away with a mortar and pestle then you can choose not to, but we wanted a show and so a waitress came around with the ingredients and proceeded to talk us through the guacamole-making process, while asking if either of us had any allergies or intolerances. I found it interesting that they added lemon to the guacamole, not the traditional lime juice.
Plantain is an interesting thing. If you look it up, it looks exactly like a banana, but has a starchy,very crunchy texture when fried in its long strips. It was moreish and delicious when you enjoyed it with a scoop of the chunky, herbed guacamole. I really loved the addition of toasted pistachios to the mix too.
We were being a bit naughty, drinking on a school night, but their margaritas looked too good to resist. My dinner date had a Classic Margarita ($18), with Jose Cuervo Traditional Silver tequila, Cointreau, fresh lime and agave, while I went with the Mejico House Margarita ($17) with Jose Cuervo Traditional Silver, Cointreau, fresh lemon, egg white and agave.
I love a good margarita – the saltiness on the rim really gives the combination of tequila and lime a great kick; I’d rather a sour cocktail over a sweet one any day. Mejico’s are sweeter than any I’ve other tasted with the addition of agave, but I it had a generous amount of citrus as well so I really enjoyed it.
The Corn Lollipops: Street Style ($12) are three mini corn cobs of chargrilled corn smothered in a combination of chargrilled corn, chipotle mayo, queso fresco, paprika, cumin, with shredded coconut and popcorn. It arrives in a gorgeous tiny cast-iron pan, the heavily cheesy sauce having dribbled to the base.
The corn is juicy and sweet, but as always when eating corn off the cob, you worry about getting it stuck in your teeth. No toothpicks are provided, so we ate it the dainty way by cutting it off the cob; the restaurant is just too trendy to be seen gnawing at the cob, the cheese sauce smothered all over your fingers. I didn’t get any hint of the shredded coconut, but nor did I miss it.
And to round off our small dishes, we went for the Soft Shell Crab Tacos ($16) with cabbage and apple slaw, jalapeno and zesty lime mayo.
It isn’t much to look at when it arrives, but the tortilla is soft and warm from the freshly deep-fried crab. In each small taco is half a crab. It’s crispy, crunchy, salty, meaty and divine; and when had with the slaw and jalapeno, it’s punchy and refreshing all at once. My only regret is how small these were, thus how quickly they disappeared!
We had only ordered three small plates as we were planning to have two desserts. The classic Churros ($12) arrived first.
Lying thickly on the plate, fresh and hot, the scent of warm cinnamon wafted off them in waves. They were drizzled in cajeta – similar to caramel but milkier; the Mexican version of dulce de leche, and chocolate sauce served on the side.
The first bite into them was heaven – crispy on the outside, with a dollop of the molten milk chocolate. But while advertised on the menu as being “fluffy” inside, for the both of us it was better described as just “soft”; as it was a little on the dense side. They were still enjoyable though; because how can you not enjoy something smothered in milky caramel and chocolate sauce?
I had been super keen to try the Peanut Cajeta Flan ($12).
The peanut flan was nice (a little on the dry side), the baked cinnamon sugar tortilla crispy and tasty, the coconut helado (Spanish for ice cream) heavenly, and the fresh blueberry sauce a tart point of difference, but it was so hard to tie all of the elements together. For me, the dish was a little dis-jointed, but I adored the coconut ice cream and didn’t hesitate to go back for the rest before it melted.
I’m happy to have finally tried Mejico after walking by it so many times. While a little over-priced and over-glam for Mexican food, it’s fresh and flavoursome and considering its prime location, it’s no surprise that they were packed out on a Tuesday evening. I’ll be keen on coming again to try out their raw bar menu offerings.
105 Pitt Street,
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9230 0119