I have been so excited to go to this restaurant ever since I saw an article for it online raving about it – this was about two months ago and as soon as I saw it I booked in a dinner date with Bec – the foodie partner in crime and my besites, Brookie and Tobias. Bec and I had gorged at the most amazing Mexican Restaurant, ROJO ROCKET, in Avoca, the month prior and this was going to be a good city comparison. Tobias is a vegan and these guys have a lot of food that caters to both the carnivores and the plant murderers.
The restaurant/ bar is located just near Central Station, in Surry Hills, and the plan was to meet first at a bar close by for a beverage or two and, as the restaurant does not taking bookings, to then be onsite before 7pm as we would be fine to get a seat then. Got onsite at 645pm and the place was completely packed to the rafters and buzzing with end of week workers lavishing in socialising with alcohol and fine food. Disappointed, we were put on a wait list and told they didn’t even have space at the bar to wait so we headed back across the road to the bar we came from. This was, of course, before Tobias (bless him) told the door lady that a) his flatmate worked there and b) that I would be reviewing the restaurant tonight. This promptly somehow got us bumped up the list and as opposed to an hour waiting it was sorted in 15mins.
The first thing I noticed when being taken to our seats was how packed this place was, for me it was way too packed. Am I getting too Coastal now? I was starting to feel like the sardines about to be deepfried. The place had beautiful and authentic decor which definitely added to the Mexican Cantina atmosphere. It is a very narrow restaurant with the bar at one end and we we just next to the bar. It was then that I noticed our table was pretty much in complete darkness. The place took atmosphere to the next level and for any of us to read a menu we had to use the torches on our phones. Our waiter for the evening was going to be none other than Toby’s gorgeous flatmate and this is where my favourite part of the evening came from – because he knew us, no doubt knew I was reviewing and really got along with Toby we were treated so well, with huge explanations on anything we asked for and he even recommended meals that he would suggest we did not order. He went through and listed all the vegan meals for Toby and basically assisted in organising the entire meal for us. I tip my hat at him. I also have to say it was not left at just the flattie – all the staff were so welcoming and friendly it was a nice treat.
So we ordered our feast and started on the margaritas, my god they were superb, seriously, I could live on the black plum margarita and the strawberry one was pretty darn fine as well. They have a very nice Mexico inspired bar menu from Tequilas to Margaritas and beers and for the first time in my life I would suggest you stay away from the wine. You know, “when in Rome, or Mexico, do as they do” .
* Cumin spiced patatas bravas Mexicana, chipotle crema
* Fried stuffed olives, jalapeno queso, toasted pine nut, fennel mayo
* Do it yourself” Guacamole, warm soft tortillas
* Soft taco – Caramelized lamb, chilli, mint, pepitas, jalapeno mayo
* Black bean crema, pepper, eggplant pico de gallo, zucchini, queso fresco
* MEXICO’s fried chicken
* Quesadilla – Achiote pumpkin, toasted coconut & dill, roast celery tomatillo dressing
* Roasted cauliflower, cucumber, avocado, black bean, olives, feta**
And more margaritas plus I think I missed one or two
As soon as the food started all arriving at once and filling the table up I was swept over by a nauseating wave that rocked every fibre of my body and I started to not feel too well. I had my first flu shot at 10am that morning and for some reason I felt as though my herculean immune system just commenced battle with the toxins injected into my body. I lost my appetite almost immediately but kept going to try all the foods as I did not want to waste this awesome experience . My usual indulging to get a taste became more of a taste of each dish to get an idea. Not happy Jan!
I loved the feta stuffed and fried olives, the fried chicken and the lamb soft tacos – I would go here again on a weeknight with a friend and eat these again and would definitely return for Toby’s flatmate and margaritas. BUT – and I hate the negatives, the restaurant was too dark and stuffy and crowded for me – I sound like an old person. Was it the flu shot effecting me? I know I did not get to indulge in the food as I normally did but at the end of the meal, neither did Bec, Brookie or Toby. I asked them why and was told, it was all quite heavy, they enjoyed it but were not raving about it. I was slightly disappointed in the menu, I was expecting a meal menu but all of the foods were small tapas styled and I think they suit better if you are going there to drink and have a couple of snacks, our problem was probably that we were there to feast and our eyes were bigger than our bellies.
The big question – would I make this a regular and visit again and again – probably not. Mexico is the hip place to be seen eating at the moment, this is of course if you can see with the limited to no lighting. I loved the decor and Toby’s flatmate and the Black Plum Margarita is possibly the best margarita I have ever had. To me this did not match up to ROJO ROCKET and god damn me – I will never go out the same day I get a flu shot – I ended up in bed for two days and sweated off about 5kgs and also missed on a fully paid for birthday and alcohol feast on the Saturday that included a 10hr open bar – I was sick!
If you have been I would love to hear what you think of this place. So leave some comments peeps. MEXICO is located at 17 Randle St, Surry Hills, there Phone Numbers is: 61 2 9211 7798. They are open 7 days from 12 till late and they have a very cool website at HERE. I award them 3 out of 5 stuffed Feta Olives.