REAL MEXICAN FOOD

Oh a whim, the Snook and I wandered up through Glebe tonight to see if the rumoured new Mexican restaurant had opened yet. It had! It’s called “Baja Cantina” and it was absolutely packed. Luckily the table in the front window opened up just as we walked in. “Damn,” I grumbled. “We can’t properly foodblog this without a camera!” Words will have to suffice.The menu was fairly short – maybe eight entrees, two salads, tortilla soup, and ten or so mains. Here’s the thing though: I would’ve eaten every single thing on the menu. On paper, they hadn’t put a foot wrong. Lots of good keywords (poblano, relleno, chipotle) and none of the bad ones I’ve come to expect in Mexican-Australian eateries (feta, tomato sauce, olives). We had the “Mixed Dip” platter to start, along with bottles of Dos Equis Amber and Lager. The lager came with a thoughtful wedge of lime. The dip platter was huge and, though we suspected the chips were out of a bag, they were still pretty decent. The dips consisted of quesa fundido (garlicky cheese melted with peppers), guacamole, and fresh salsa. The cheese was good for the first few bites but quickly became too rich (and gluggy as it cooled) for our tastes. The salsa was nicely bitey and traditional. The guac… I loved the guac. It was bursting with flavour. I like my guac with lots of garlic and coriander, and this one didn’t disappoint. (To be fair, the Snook thought the avocado might have been a little overripe.) Then onto our mains: Burrito Grande for me, Taco Supremo for the Snook. Do you know how long it’s been since I had a burrito the size of my head? WAY, WAY TOO LONG. I had the meatless version which was stuffed with refried beans, rice, and cheese. The flour tortilla was warm and soft and a line of sour cream zig-zagged down the top. I could actually taste the chipotle in the beans inside. It came with another big spoonful of guac and a salad of greens, shredded carrot, and a lonely tomato wedge. (The salad dressing was sweet and different; I managed to pick out that it had orange juice in it.) I was a little disappointed in the lack of the traditional Spanish rice accompaniment, but in the end I was so stuffed it didn’t matter. The Snook’s taco was the biggest taco I’d ever seen in my life. It was one whole tortilla, bigger than a dinner place, fried and folded over into a vague approximation of a taco-shape and filled with shredded beef, cheese, lettuce, and tomato. At first I didn’t see how he was ever going to eat it, but it turned out that since it was a “real” tortilla, most of it wasn’t so crisp as to shatter into millions of pieces. He did pretty well eating it with a knife and fork. It also came with a small bit of a salad and a side of Spanish rice.

Overall I can only say that Baja Cantina is destined to become one of our regular haunts. The price wasn’t too bad ($60 total for the two of us), especially considering the sheer volume of food that we had. The fitout is appropriately Mexican without veering too far into Disney territory (the potted cacti are a nice touch), and the atmosphere is definitely convivial. We’re also pretty sure that at least a couple of the servers were actually Hispanic, which (quite frankly) is a massive novelty over here. This was the first decent Mexican meal I’ve had in YEARS. (I predict Rob and Amy are going to love it.) Mmm, I can’t wait to go back again…!

Yeah, I pretty much took the night off from my diet. It was worth it.

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2 Comments

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  1. Let’s book it.

  2. God, you’ve made me hungry! Your burrito sounds gorgeous!

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