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As it turns out, there’s only one thing better than a pitcher of margarita – and that’s a margarita with cucumber, agave and jalapeno chilli salt. Dangerously good concoctions.

As it turns out, there’s only one thing better than a pitcher of margarita – and that’s a margarita with cucumber, agave and jalapeno chilli salt.  The people responsible for these dangerously good concoctions (and for your 3-day hangover) are the owners of Barrio Chino, the newest thing in Mexican to hit the Cross.

Don’t mistake what the chefs are doing here for any run-of-the-mill Mexican fare.  Barrio Chino replaces the humble burrito with tapas-style serves of Tuna and Avocado Tostada ($12), Glazed Baby Back Pork Ribs ($18) and White Fish Cerviche ($15). The simple taco has also undergone a facelift; mouth-watering Crispy Braised Pork, Chipotle Beer Braised Chicken or Seared Yellow Fin Tuna (all $6) comes neatly parcelled in a soft cornflour base. Make sure you keep an ear out for the specials, too. The most recent Taco of the Week came with prawns and a kiwi-fruit garnish, and caused a sudden spat of food envy around the table.

While the portions are small, they’re flavoursome and surprisingly filling. Having said that, any meal here wouldn’t be complete without some sugary sticks of Churros. (Don’t be embarrassed to ask for a spoon to polish off the dulche de leche, either – our party already broke the ice on that one.)

To get an accurate picture of the space, throw away any images of piñatas, fake cacti and other gaudy paraphernalia.  Barrio Chino’s fit out is stylish and low-key, with a long bar that stretches between the restaurant and front lounge area. Bar seating, big dining tables and an outdoor back area makes it an ideal precursor to a night out with friends. Although, given the bar stays open till the wee hours with DJ’s spinning Friday through to Sunday, you can pretty much have your night handed to you without having to step foot into the Cross.

While Barrio Chino is already enjoying an early success, this place will really hit its stride in summer. In the meantime, it’s an ideal hangout for blowing off the rest of winter with plenty of tequila.

Published on August 15 , 2011 by

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