The last time I looked at a taco with my hungry eyes on was in the searing heat of Mexico City about three years ago. Two weeks later, what I thought was an unconditional love of these tasty tortilla snacks, soon fizzled away like any other holiday romance. After one too many visits to the street-side taco stands, I needed a break… you can eat too much of a good thing but also, could anything else, anywhere else, ever compare? Despite eating more tacos than I’ll ever need in a lifetime, I have very fond memories of those tacos al pastor!
To keep hold of those memories, I’ve just avoided tacos ever since that trip. I thought I was blissfully happy in my taco-free existence until a couple of cocktails and my ravenous appetite conspired against me, then before I knew it, I was salivating at the sight of all the taco options at Barrio Central.
I might have ordered them all in my excitement had I not remembered that Vicky was on her way and I had actually invited her to eat and drink with me, not to come to witness the aftermath of the taco-binge-eating! Looking around, it seemed this was the place to be for girls’ gossip session… it was a Tuesday night and every table was filled with gaggles of girls taking advantage of the purse-friendly happy hour cocktails and nibbling on dishes which are made for sharing.
Once Vicky arrived we wasted no time in joining the other ladies in the room and got those cocktails on order – a Tommy’s Margarita and a ‘Papa Don’t Preach’, both went down a treat. Don’t worry, we’re not ones to drink on an empty stomach so we also ordered some macha glazed chicken wings, nachos classico, and calamari de cuba to soak up the booze. The wings and calamari I could probably take or leave but the nachos I quite liked. The guacamole was creamy but not a horrible baby-food smooth, and little corn chips are the perfect bite between the inevitable constant chatter when girls are catching up!
The next round of cocktails consisted of a classic Mojito and the less than classic ‘Catch the Pigeon’, a fruity rum concoction which was right up my alley… much better than anything I’ve ever attempted myself! We sipped these in between all the talking and mouthfuls of tacos… Vicky was graceful as ever but I don’t think I was as elegant in my multitasking! After a concentrated perusal of the menu, we opted for the baja fish, MFC chicken, and the carne asada.
I thought the grilled skirt steak had a nice hint of smokiness which was well paired with the salsa verde, but it wasn’t quite as good as the carne asada tacos I had in Mexico… still, a valiant effort though. In the battle of the crispy fried fillings, our waiter said his favourite was the buttermilk fried chicken but personally, I think this was outshone by the chipotle fish. The large cod pieces were encased in a light batter and perfectly accompanied with jalepeno aioli, cabbage slaw and pickled red onions.
I was tempted by another cocktail and maybe even the tongue & cheek tacos because I am instantly drawn to offal on any menu, but truthfully, we were stuffed. Whilst we were gassbagging and stuffing our gobs, it didn’t seem like we had that much food but as I’m recalling it all now… I’m glad we stopped where we did and called it a night – it was a Tuesday after all!
Barrio Central is a great spot to gather your friends together for some cocktails and nibbles, especially during their Happy Hour when the cocktails will only set you back £5! Don’t pop in with a plan to relive those memories of the perfect Mexican street-side taco because nothing will ever compare; instead, come to Barrio Central with a sense of fun and a big appetite and you won’t be disappointed!
Do you like Mexican food? What are your favourite dishes from your travels?
Thanks to Barrio Central for reuniting me with the goodness of the taco, but as always, all opinions are mine alone!