Last week's cold front left me with a serious chilli craving and a mild case of the winter blues. With this in mind, I headed to Café Mexicho, which turned out to be the perfect place to solve both problems.
The attention to detail is obvious from the second one steps through the swinging saloon doors. The simple wooden furniture and bright primary colours welcome relaxation, while funky wire light fittings, a long wooden bar and a huge portrait of Frieda Khalo create a sense of fun and let patrons know that they should be prepared for a party.
Café Mexicho offers an impressive selection of tequila, as well as some unique cocktails and some seasonal specialities. I tried an Ajuaaa, which consisted of a Corona mixed with a shot of tequila, seasoned with salt and lemon. It was a remarkably smooth drink, with a pleasant kick from the tequila at the end. My friend went for the gluwhein, which was piping hot, fantastically well-spiced and served in a lovely tin teapot.
The food at Café Mexicho, prepared by a chef who hails from Mexico City, is as authentic as you get. I started with deep-fried tacitos stuffed with chicken and topped with a creamy salad, while my friend tried the jalapeno poppers.
The tacitos were crispy and fresh, nicely complimented by the creamy salad and a large helping of Mexicho's famous hot sauce. The jalapeno poppers were generously stuffed with cheese, fried to perfection and offered just the right amount of flavour from the jalapeno.
Deciding to go all-out to satisfy my chilli craving, I opted for chilli con carne for my main. Although they offer a mild option, I ordered it hot and I was not disappointed. The mixture of meat and beans had a great flavour and I was impressed by the fact that they used actual shredded steak as opposed to mince. The chilli in the dish snuck up on me, but once it hit, all cravings were satisfied.
My dinner partner went for the sincronizada, the Mexican equivalent of a pizza, consisting of cheddar cheese, onions, bacon and chicken between two large tortillas. He declared it rich and filling, the perfect dish for a cold winter night.
In a city that has lacked a decent Mexican restaurant for years, Café Mexicho would be welcome just for the variety they provide. However, this superb venue does a lot more than just fill a niche; they create an atmosphere that says: come in, kick back and get your fiesta on!
78A, Fourth Avenue, Melville