For a late-lunch on Friday we’re sampling the latest offering from the Merivale food portfolio – El Loco at The Excelsior Hotel in Surry Hills. I’m a fan of what chef, Dan Hong, has done at Ms. G’s and looking forward to tasting the Asian fusion he brings to this Mexican Cantina inspired hot spot.
It’s a lovely sunny winters day and we score the last table outside. There’s enough chairs for all but one of us, who ends up with a colourful cushioned milk crate… these look great – not sure how comfortable they are, but El Loco isn’t designed for hours spent labouring over a meal – it’s fast, easy and fun.
After driving around the block a few times (parking is a nightmare), we’re starving and order some ’ Guacamole and Corn Chips’ ($5) to share – demolished in a matter of minutes. I love the smooth and tangy guacamole but the salsa doesn’t have that rich tomato punch. There’s too much onion and something else diluting its taste and colour.
The $5 tacos are obviously the most popular dish on the menu with the funky staff queuing at the fast-food-style grill inside to load up their woven delivery trays with them – we’re told that the
Food arrives fast – all served on a variety of paper and plastic plates/baskets. I’ve ordered the ‘Al Pastor’ taco (spit roasted pork, pineapple salsa, cabbage, coriander, spring onions, salsa verde and pico de gallo). Normally I’m anti any savoury dish with pineapple – but I’m pleased to have made an exception to my rule in this case. The pineapple has zing and isn’t too sweet. I struggle to find the little bit of pork under the mountain of salad (most of this ends up falling off as my mouth attempts to tackle it). The chicken, beef. tofu and prawn tacos are all sampled and enjoyed around the table.