A stylish, Westernised synecdoche of an entire country.
August 20, 2014
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It takes a lot of gumption for a restaurant chain to name itself after a country. Not only does it make Google searching the place near impossible, it also creates some pretty damn big shoes to fill (1,923,040 km2 in surface area, to be exact). Yet, Mexico have gone and done the very thing, and have emerged mostly triumphantly, as a Westernised synecdoche of an entire country (a very polished, very meticulously designed version of the country). No rats or stray dogs allowed.
Starting things right, we ordered a carafe of of coconut margarita ($25). It sweetly ran its way down our throats before the waiter could even get an order for starters. Note: Mexico is worth a visit for its margaritas alone.
Following the success of our first round of drinks, we followed with a serving of guacamole and yellow corn shards ($8). Mexico's produce is exceptionally fresh, which leads to its guacamole tasting exceptionally good, and very creamy. Our only complaint is in the guac-to-corn shard ratio. Usually we would lament the lack of dip, but Mexico guac generousity left us with exasperated sighs as roughly a 1/4 tub of guacamole was ushered away by the waiter. And trust us, we were loading those corn shards to the brim. Still, great guac though.
Another carafe of coconut margarita arrived at the table (why stop a good thing?), as well as two sets of tacos for each of us and some cactus quesadilla ($14) to share. I sampled the fish ($6) and the sautéed mushroom soft shell taco ($6). The fish taco was a little hard to eat (required expert folding techniques), but with its delectable crispy yeast batter, salsa asada and jalapeño mayo combo it emerged as the victorious favourite dish of the bunch. The zany sautéed mushroom taco with guajillo, kale and orange was a close second - it's an easy call for any vegetarians wondering what to order.
Confusion arose with the cactus quesadilla. One of those menu items you see and instantly order due to its quirk, it seemed that any satisfaction from eating cactus stopped there. Cactuses are just better suited in deserts than on plates. Texture-wise cactus is the tough steak of the vegetable world, but taste-wise it's like a watered-down aubergine that's been soaking in the sink for over a day. Everything else in the dish was great, but there was just nothing that could be done for the cactus.
With its convenient Dixon Street location, beautiful interior (really great mural, guys), high-quality margaritas and great soft shell tacos Mexico's a perfect post-work gathering point, but just don't expect a fully authentic Mexican experience. For that you'll have to go to Mexico itself.
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