Tuesday, October 25, 2011

El Loco, Surry Hills

It's time for Mexican food to get some recognition. And finally! In the last couple of years, numerous branches of Guzman Y Gomez and Mad Mex were opened as well as the surge of Mexican and Latin American eateries situated in bars including Barrio Chino, The Abercrombie and El Loco. A friend wanted to do her birthday at a Mexican restaurant. Initially we were planning to go to Baja Cantina or Flying Fajita Sistas but there were last minute attendees so we went to El Loco instead. Because it was a Saturday and it gets very packed around 7-8pm we decided to show up around 6pm to get a table since the restaurant does not do bookings.

Classic Margarita

Situated at the Excelsior Hotel, this operates as both a restaurant and a pub. Which leads to crowded venues and countless patrons standing around and eating without a table. But that did not spoil anyone. It is the fun, social, noisy, buzzing atmosphere that made El Loco what it is. It has a very affordable menu including $5 tacos and with the rest of the menu being $15 or less. More importantly, the tacos were absolutely divine!

Pollo taco (chicken)

Carne Asada taco (beef)

Al Pastor Taco (pork)

When you see a Mexican restaurant using soft corn tortillas instead of hard shells, you are onto a good thing here. While it isn't strictly authentic (salad and cheese can still be seen but that didn't distract us), it is the fusion of flavours in its tacos that brings the spark of Chef Dan Hong's work to the taste and palate of the diner. Such examples include the tofu taco and the ever changing 'Secret taco'.

Secret taco - we're guessing lamb hearts? - alot tastier than you think

A special deal that night was a chorizo with haloumi taco. My friend enjoyed this immensely. Although he loves haloumi cheese. I thought this was another example of interesting taco fillings that Dan Hong (chef of El Loco) dishes up.

Special one off taco - chorizo and haloumi

The corn chips with guacamole and salsa were surprisingly addictive. Initially I wasn't sure becuase it looked like the corn chips you would see from Woolies or Coles but it went down a treat that we ordered another batch.

Corn chips with guacamole and salsa

In my opinion, my fave one was the taco al pastor as it reminded me of the ones I've had in LA with the sweet pork and pineapple flavour. In previous visits I have also tried the camaron taco (prawn) and the queso de soya taco (tofu) - both I would definitely recommend. My friends have tried these fillings but I was too full by then. While it may not be the most authentic Mexican restaurant, it still does a good job at interpreting this cuisine as closely as they can whilst appealing to the taste familiar to Australians with unique flavours. And with the many eateries opening across Sydney, this demonstrates that Mexican food is much more than simply hard shell tacos filled with sour cream and cheese.

El Loco
Location: 64 Foveaux Street, Surry Hills
Contact no: 02 9211 4945

El Loco on Urbanspoon

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