You can’t really go wrong with a freshly made taco from El Loco, the newest member of the Merivale family serving up Mexican food on a street corner in Surry Hills. While it’s attached to the Excelsior Hotel on Foveaux St, it’s a stand-alone place in its own right, with tacos, sandwiches and plenty of tequila to go around.
The inside of the Mexican cantina is decked out in bright colours, pictures of cacti and sombreros as well as used jalapeno cans as pot plants. It’s all things Mexican here, and while I can’t vouch for the authenticity of the food having never been to Mexico myself, it’s a far cry from the food-court nachos with fresh, crisp flavours and quite possibly the most delicious guacamole I’ve ever had.
We grab some drinks and snack on some corn chips with guacamole and salsa ($5 – which I conveniently forgot to take a photo of). You can’t go wrong with a Classic Margarita, but if that’s not your thing you can always go for the more adventurous Jalapeno Margarita (which wasn’t actually that spicy) or the sweet Pink Cuco which comes in the form of a slushie. There is also an extensive selection of tequilas on offer with varying prices depending on the quality of the tequila.
We ordered a round of tacos to share (one of everything except the tofu taco). They ended up being a little too small to share amongst all of us but I managed to try the prawn and the chicken tacos.
The prawns were cooked nicely, but you had to eat it quickly before it made a soggy mess of the soft taco shell! The chicken was also delicious, but what really made the tacos for me was the fresh cabbage, spring onions, coriander and salsa verde which just made them taste wonderfully fresh rather than heavy.
Apart from tacos, there are sandwiches which come in a sesame seed bun, the same fresh cabbage, spring onion, coriander and salsa verde mix as the tacos as well as a little squiggle of mayonnaise on top. These are much easier to eat than the tacos and I really enjoyed the soft bread with the crunch of the salad and the chunks of spit-roasted pork.
The fish sandwich is similar, with grilled fish replacing the pork in the sandwich. The fish is perfectly cooked and still retains moisture, though I think I prefer the pork sandwich over the fish.
The hot dog, Suze notices, is the only item (apart from the healthy El Loco salad) that contains cheese! But thankfully it has loads of cheese on top, enough to cover the spicy jalapenos underneath it which give me a bit of a burning mouth when I eat a few of them in one go! The soft, slightly sweet hot dog bun is particularly nice against the pork sausage and while it’s a pretty simple hot dog, it’s one worth getting.
After a few more servings of the corn chips with salsa and guacamole (we couldn’t get enough of the stuff!), it’s time to leave since the place has started to slowly fill up and people are eyeing our table. El Loco definitely fills a void on the Sydney dining scene with fresh Mexican flavours and a wide selection of tequilas. Combine that with a funky vibe and a DJ, and you’ve got yourself a night out!
64 Foveaux Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010
Ph: +61 2 9211 4945
Monday -Thursday 12pm until late
Friday & Saturday 12pm – 3am
Sunday 12pm -10pm