While once true, the whole ‘there’s no good Mexican food in Joburg’ thing is now totally untrue. With the opening of El Jalapeño, a trendy new Mexican eatery on the buzzing 7th Street in Linden, it’s safe to say that Jozi’s Mexican food scene is on the way-way-up escalator. Ready your belly for some of the best super-stuffed burritos and tantalising tortillas you’ve ever tasted!
I arrived at El Jalapeño on Friday for their festive tasting evening, before opening to the public today, with much excitement. (I don’t know about you, but I just love a zesty shaken margarita and a cheesy plate of nachos!) Upon arrival, I was greeted by the very warm and welcoming owners, and handed a welcome drink, which was some fabulous fruity concoction garnished with bright pink sherbet and a cherry.
I took my seat inside the cosy restaurant, which boasts wonderfully loud orange, green and blue walls, comfortable wooden tables and chairs, a mixture of casual light fixtures, and colourful sombreros hung up in every corner. I instantly admired the vibrant atmosphere of the eatery, which picked up even more once we were served our first round of margaritas.
To start, we were served a number of tasty traditional dishes, including jalapeño poppers, flautas and gorditas. If I’m honest, the chilli poppers were the best I’ve ever tasted – the batter was just perfect, and the jalapeños themselves weren’t too spicy to eat, as they are at most restaurants in my opinion. The other dishes were all outstanding as well, not to mention bursting with loads of interesting flavours.
Then, for mains, we tucked into another round of margaritas as well as tostadas, quesadillas, burritos and enchilada de pollos. All I can say is wow – the fresh, flavourful ingredients were abundant in each and every dish, and everything was so beautifully presented! What’s more, is during our meal, the Mexican chef came out to explain what everything was and where the ingredients were sourced from, which I found to be a very special personal touch.
To end off the evening on a sweet note, the eatery treated us to a traditional horchata, which is a refreshing Mexican rice drink made with coconut milk and a hint of cinnamon. It was my first time sipping on something as such, and all I can say is that it was simply divine! If I weren’t so stuffed from all of the tantalising main dishes, I would’ve certainly indulged in the decadent churros served with a dipping sauce, but there’s always a next time, right?
All in all, I had a fantastic time at El Jalapeño, and am so excited that Joburg is now home to what I’d definitely refer to as a traditional Mexican spot. The next time you’re harbouring a craving for tacos, burritos or guacamole, be sure to head over to this amazing new spot. It’s a great place to enjoy with the family, a group of friends, or just your loved one. Trust me when I say that you don’t want to miss out! Go on and treat your taste buds.
El Jalapeño opens to the public on Monday, 4 April 2016.
PS: Get in touch with El Jalapeño on Facebook.
By Candice May