Food Tour Party: The Mexican Cafe, Auckland

by - Friday, December 06, 2013

currently: listening to 'Make You Mine' by Benny Tipene.

Tucked away in a room above Victoria Street East is one of the most festively decorated restaurants in Auckland. Coloured with streamers, piñatas and a beautiful wall mosaic is a place simply called The Mexican Cafe.

While I've never travelled to Mexico in my life, I imagine that The Mexican Cafe just encompassed almost everything Mexican you can imagine, gathered into one room and exploded onto the walls. From the cactus beer tap to the 30th birthday banner, it feels a bit cheesy sitting amongst the Mexican knick knacks, but in a fun, colourful way. It's a place with character, and has had many good evenings in its time.

(Google+ made this image auto-twinkle for some reason.)
It's not too packed as Darryl and I are welcomed in and seated at a table for two beside this stunning mosaic. The waitress is quick to hand us a bowl of free corn chips and salsa as we pondered over the menu, which was welcomed since it was 2pm and it was really hot outside.

The selection is pretty simple; a lot of standard meals you'd expect from a Mexican menu with your typical tacos and burritos, and extra sides of jalapeno. We arrived during peak time for their $10 lunch special, and after debating between the burrito and taco salad, I ended up choosing the taco salad. Darryl meanwhile choose the burrito from the regular lunch menu, just because he liked the sound of that one better. (It wasn't much different, just added rice and beans.)

Anyway, we took a look at the drinks menu too, and I had pretty much decided to get the Caipirinha, on recommendation from my manager at work (which is apparently the national drink of Brazil - I'm confused by its inclusion in a Mexican cafe, but okay.) And then Darryl ordered a 'Bananarama' cocktail - which included Irish Cream, Kahlua, banana liqueur blended with cream and banana. It was quite funny when the bartender came to deliver us our drinks, and he handed the Caipirinha to Darryl and the Bananarama to me. "I think I ordered the girly drink," Darryl said.

Now my manager seemed to think that, because of my love of eating all things sugary and how I adore ciders, that I'd really like the Caipirinha drink because it would be really sweet. It's filled with limes and something called Cachaca served in a short glass with ice - but it's really sour. And maybe it was a bit too strong for me. Bananarama on the other hand tastes like ice cream, so maybe I should have stuck to the girly drink.

 
When the food came out, it really made a statement. Darryl's plate was way too hot to touch, while my taco came in it's own massive taco bowl. It was a huge serving, filled with beans, lettuce, tomato, cheese, sour cream, guacamole and chicken. And it tasted pretty good, being able to eat the outside taco bread shell, until I got so full that I couldn't even finish it. Darryl enjoyed his burrito, but he too was defeated by the size of his meal.

So if you're around Sky City and want a really big, simple lunch, The Mexican Cafe is the place to go (between 12-4pm for that $10 lunch). They don't necessarily have the most exciting food combinations but they do have big servings. Also you can find more exotic flavours from their drink selection if you're into that too.

Food Party review:
Money friendliness - Reasonable if you go for the $10 lunch and are very hungry.
Purchase fun - It's not a massive selection of food to choose from, but at least you get a free bowl of corn chips and salsa just for walking in.
Deliciousness factor - It's good and simple when you're hungry for a taco, but not necessarily outstanding though in terms of interesting flavours.

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