Saturday, 3 October 2009

El Taco

El Taco Mexican restaurant was the auspicious venue for our 3 week old daughter's first dinner out. We'd eaten at El Taco about 5 or so years ago, but hadn't been back since. Seeing as it's just down the road, it was a good candidate for the 2-3 hour dinner window we had.

We knew the main courses were very filling, so we took it easy on the starters - we just ordered one serve of guacamole with corn chips, thinking that should be a safe bet in a Mexican restaurant. Unfortunately, while the guacamole was obviously fresh, it really didn't have much flavour. In fact we had to put a giant blob of it on the corn chips even to get a taste of avocado. Although the corn chips were thick and crunchy, we found the guacamole underwhelming.

If you're not a fan of guacamole, other entrees on the menu at El Taco include chilli dip, frijole dip (savoury mashed beans topped with chilli sauce) and a variety of nachos & tacos.

When it came to mains I ordered the chilli con carne (ground beef with whole beans, tomatoes, onions and chilli). After we had ordered, the waiter came out and told us that they had run out of rice for the night. It was only about 7.30pm at the time, so I was a bit surprised to find out that a Mexican restaurant had run out of rice. It was even more surprising considering that there was an IGA open about 50 metres up the road.

The waiter then seemed a bit taken aback when I said I'd like to change my order - I wasn't particularly keen to have chilli beef served with green salad. So instead I ordered one chicken enchilada and one beef enchilada. The menu described the enchiladas as "cheese with seasoned beef or chicken wrapped in a soft tortilla, covered with spicy chilli sauce, topped with more cheese and shallots and baked to mouth watering perfection". Although it was a very generous serving, the enchiladas were a disappointing because they didn't really have any distinctive flavour - more of a chilli kick in the sauce would have been welcome.

My wife ordered an enrollada with beans (an enrollada is an enchilada topped with sour cream). Again the enrollada was a filling, generous serve, but it didn't pack much punch in the way of flavour.

Overall I'd have to say that on this visit we found the food disappointing. Each of the dishes we ordered was just a bit bland for my liking. One of the main reasons I enjoy eating out is to eat food that we don't usually cook at home. Unfortunately, based on the dishes we ate on this visit, we cook tastier Mexican food at home. El Taco was fairly busy the night we were there, so it certainly has its share of supporters.

Other than the bizarre rice episode, service was friendly throughout the night. El Taco is BYO, and there is a handy bottle shop on Blackwood Street, if you find yourself thirsty.

What does all this mean? Generous servings of Mexican food at reasonable prices, but the meals could do with a bit more punch and variety of flavour.

food bling ratings
Food - OK
Service - Good
Ambience - Casual family surroundings with Mexican ornaments
Vegetarian - OK
Wine - BYO
Value for Money - Good

El Taco
50 Blackwood Street
Mitchelton 4053
P - 07 3355 9723


Pinball Les said...

I gotta say that food looks rank! Which is a shame, Mexican food can be great if done well.

I find Chillis at Clayfield is great. Servings are a bit smaller than most places, bit they are tasty and good quality.

food bling, Brisbane said...

I'll have to give Chillis a go next time. I've had some good meals at El Torito in West End, but haven't been there for a while.

Sarah said...

Hmm I have yet to go to a good Mexican restaurant in Brisbane. Gam and I have even been twice to Dos Amigos in Taringa (invited a second time by a group of friends who actually like the food there) and pretty much had the same response- we could have done it much better at home (and mostly from a packet/jar at that!).

I reckon we might give El Torito or Chillis a try... we're also keen to hear if you actually come across a place that does good, authentic Mexican food- we have a friend who lives in Guadalajara and the food sounds like it's a world away from any 'Mexican' we've tried in Australia...

Anonymous said...

Other then El Torito or Villa Maria in Cannon Hill, I would recommend saving your money and stay away from just about every other "Mexican" restaurant in town. El Torito has raised their prices by several dollars on average recently, which is a shame. Villa Maria in my opinion, is probably the best of the whole lot. Other then Mexican food, they also do South American food as specials, including some unusual dishes.

Vanessa Jackman (Street+Style = StreetStyle) said...

Mmmmmm I have fond memories of Taco Den at Kedron but suspect my palate has changed a bit since those good old days :) Any London readers should try Wahaca at Covent Garden which serves Mexican street food.It won't blow your mind but is cheap (for London), fresh, filling and tasty. It is by the Masterchef winner, Thomasina Miers and I think she has now also opened one at the new Westfield over here...

food bling, Brisbane said...

Thanks for everyone's comments. I will have to give Villa Maria a try as well - it would be great to find a dependably tasty Mexican place