Archive for June, 2011

June 5, 2011

El Loco

by minibites

El Loco

Three day weekend means, tequilas and tacos! And there was without a doubt that there were plenty of people thinking the same with either a Corona or a margarita in their hand. Attached to The Excelsior Hotel by the hip, Dan Hong’s next adventure is here at El Loco; dishing up simple tacos, nachos, burgers and some tequila liquid courage to down everything down with.

El Loco

Knocked up in 7 days, the exterior is bright and colourful giving some life to the easily missed Surry Hills street. Inside, it’s a mix of new and old with crazy colourful prints across the wall, heated lamps, fairy lights, a bungalow looking bar and open kitchen with chefs crazily working away.

El Loco “Carne Asada” Taco

El Loco Excelsior Hot Dog & “Al Pastor” Torta

It’s hard to snap up a table, so we’re huddled around the corner bench chowing down our Mexican feast. There’s tacos to suit all from pork, beef, tofu and even the secret taco of the night. My Carne Asada Taco; lemongrass beef with salsa verde quickly arrives in a paper boat, warm and delicious.

For my cheese loving companion, he dives into the Excelsior Hot Dog; a grilled pork frankfurt on a super soft bun with picked jalepenos, pico ge gallo (salsa), mayo and plenty of soft, finely grated cheese that melt in your mouth. The cheese looks crazy and scary (I am slightly lactose intolerant), but I was being reassured that there really isn’t as much as it seems! Peeking from the corner of the photo is the Al Pastor Torta; the grilled marinated pork from the spit sandwiched between a seeded soft bun topped with crunchy cabbage, pico de gallo, mayo and with asian twist, coriander and spring onions. Mmm, it has to be my favourite.

Even though Mexican is not too fancy, it’s amazing that quality ingredients makes all the difference – meat that have been given tender loving care, and damn fresh bread.

El Loco

The bar is overflowing with slushie margaritas, Mexican beers and tequila shots. My favourite is the the El Loco slushy of El Jimador tequila, pink grapefruit and lime mixed with homemade coriander and raw ginger syrup. Definitely my sweet pick over the Classic Margarita.

When asked whether this is just a “pop up” or here to stay, the waitress was a little hush hush… so better get in regardless!

El Loco
64 Foveaux St
Surry Hills, Sydney 

El Loco on Urbanspoon

June 4, 2011

Borsh Vodka & Tears, Melbourne

by minibites

Borsh Vodka & Tears

Borsh Vodka & Tears

I have never been to a bar that has dished up an impressive and extensive cocktail list alongside a whopping vodka menu for shots straight up. Anything that can be thought of, cherry vodka, mint vodka, chili vodka, chocolate vodka… be prepared to be strapped in for some wholesome comfort food and plentiful of shots and alcohol. Inside, we’re shielded from the cold, it’s dimly lit and cosy.

My Russian counterpart is in charge of ordering tonight and begins to order the feast and shots to accompany each course…

Borsh Vodka & TearsZakuski

Zakuski is served first and it is the Russian version of hors d’œuvres with a platter of starters from gypsy ham, warm grilled kranksy, russian potato salad, roast capsicums, beetroots, polish dill cucumbers, picked mushrooms and cubes of goats cheese. All interesting flavours of savouriness and sourness all tickling our tastebuds, downed with a shot of Winter Romance; a sweet cherry vodka delight.

Borsh Vodka & TearsPanfried Uszka

Borsh Vodka & Tears Russian style Chicken Stroganoff

Borsh Vodka & TearsGoulash

Our mains roll around the corner and first are the panfried uszka; traditional Polish meat dumplings and crepes and served with (of course) picked cucumbers and sour cream. I used to think that the Asian dumplings were good, but secretly, the Polish very good at making mouthwatering, tender dumplings.

More comfort food rolls around with a traditional Russian style chicken stroganoff with fresh rye bread on the side. The stroganoff is more watery in texture than usual but don’t let it deceive as it’s flavoursome and hearty. The goulash is equally as good; a lightly spiced beef stew made from coriander and green peppercorns and served with creamy mash potato, sauteed vegetables and a capsicum relish.

This round was topped with the Pole Stiffener shot; a liqueur cherry in cherry and chocolate vodka; and probably my favourite of the night.

Borsh Vodka & Tears Russian Crepes 

For the sweet tooths around the table, there’s not doubt that the Russian crepes is the way to go; filled with warm strawberries and apples and served with cream, raspberry coulis and vanilla ice cream. It’s a nice welcome away from all the meat tonight. And of course after dessert, we topped off with the After Dinner Mint shot; a mix of Van Gogh chocolate vodka and żołądkowa mint vodka.

Borsh Vodka & TearsSomething Wicked Comes This Way & Double Rainbow

Borsh Vodka & Tears

Throughout the night there’s no holding back and we have cocktail after cocktail. The winners on the list are the Espresso Martini; quite self explainatory, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Apple Pie and Menage a Trois.

A honourable mention to the writer of the cocktail menu with wonderful cocktails named “Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries” (quote from Monty Python) and “You’re turning violet, Violet” (quote from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).

A night here isn’t fully experienced until you’ve had the borsh (soup), plenty of vodka and hangover tears.

Borsh Vodka & Tears
173 Chapel St
Windsor, Melbourne 

Borsch, Vodka & Tears on Urbanspoon