"Sorry, but if you are in a hurry forget about it!" laughs a note at the bottom of Viva Mexico's menu board. You should really embrace the mindset—I can't express how perfect this spot is for a casual dinner (any night of the week) with a group of friends, a pitcher or three of the jamjar margaritas, and some of Wellington's best Mexican food (the dishes didn't even take that long but it's the idea of a slow, enjoyable meal spent together that counts right?).
We checked out this little corner in the recesses of Cuba Street's Left Bank on a Friday night. The market was in full swing, lines for the paella and all, but thankfully Viva Mexico was running on its own time. We easily secured a table and settled in with the menu under the picado flags and amidst the other tables, full of couples, groups of friends, uni kids and adults just knocked off work.
The interior alone is enough to put you in a good mood. The gloriously jumbled space full of objects and art and mementoes makes for an interesting meal of observing everything around you (trying to work out how they balanced insert-object-here that high up on that shelf, you get the picture).
As for the food, it's a wide range of truly authentic, flavoursome Mexican dishes. Your classic favourites are there—the enchiladas, the tacos, the quesadillas, done perfectly authentically with beautifully developed flavour combinations, whether they be chilli and chocolate, chilli and tomato, or guacamole and sour cream. A moment also needs to be dedicated to portion sizes—they're massive and utterly satisfying without compromising on flavour at all.
When it came to ordering, there was physically no way to fit everything we wanted to try into our stomachs. We opted to order the smaller size option of a lot of different dishes. Tortas de elote (corn fritters, $10), Jalapenos Rellenos (jalapenos stuffed with cheese and sauce, $12), Sopa de Tortilla (Aztec tortilla soup with chicken, avo, sour cream and cheese, $15) a Taco Pescado (tempura fish, $8 for one and $15 for two) and Enchiladas de Queso (cheesy sauce enchiladas with black beans, rice and salad, $21 small and $24 large) was more than enough for two of us, especially when you factor in the jam jars of Margaritas ($13 glass, $20 pitcher) we were sippin' on in between bites. If you're doing a casual lunch or aren't particularly hungry, one of the mains or maybe a soup and starter option is great for filling up on if you're not in it for a big hunger-busting experience.
Lucky that I only live down the street—you can't help but make Viva Mexico your new regular.