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Restaurant review: Checking out Mexican restaurants in Singapore

Casa Latina

42 Waterloo Street

6884 6929

There’s nothing cheesy about this venue, except perhaps for the melted mozzarella in green sauce ($18). You’re supposed to wrap it in the thin, light tortillas it comes with, but we scoffed the gooey stuff straight from the sizzling cast-iron casserole. Or try the tasty mixed shrimp and snapper ceviche ($16), a lot healthier and, like the cheese, big enough to share.

Authentic-tasting pollo divorciado (divorced chicken; $32) is named for its two separate sauces: one green, with pumpkin seeds, one chocolaty, with sesame seeds. Even better was the chef’s special of the month, chipotle-spiced and fork-tender braised lamb shank ($32). But, if you eat the tortillas, refried beans and rice that come with it, you may not have room for the flan ($9).

 

We recommend the Negra Modelo dark beer ($12) and the reasonably priced Chilean house wine ($12 per glass; $60 per bottle). What’s more, the service team was outstanding.

Verne Maree

Muy Importante:

Free chips and salsa? Yes – as it should be

House versus top-shelf margarita: $16 versus $25

 

Señor Taco

1 Vista Exchange Green #02-22

6694 2320 | senortaco.sg

The key to eating at Señor Taco is to pace yourself. Losing it, like I did, right out of the gates over the guacamole ($10.90) isn’t recommended, but this is damn good guac. And, the chips – and tortillas – are homemade. (In fact, Señor Taco has Singapore’s only tortilla factory, which supplies corn and flour tortillas to restaurants all over town, including many in this roundup.)

The shredded carnitas Michoacán ($28.90) – a mix of pork shoulder, leg and belly confit that has been cooked for 15 hours – has got to be one of the best ways that pork can possibly be served. Accompanied by corn tortillas, pico de gallo and lime wedges, you’ve got to work quickly to assemble and devour it all to ensure the optimal consistency between tortilla and tender juices from the meat.

Remember to pace yourself. That way, you’ll have room for the flan Doña Victoria ($8.90). This silky custard with sweet caramel sauce is definitely worth the effort.     

Monica Pitrelli

Muy Importante:

Free chips and salsa? No – $4.90 with salsa

House versus top-shelf margarita? $14.90 versus $20.90

Señor Taco also has locations at Chjimes, Clarke Quay and Orchard Towers.

 

Café Iguana

30 Merchant Road, #01-03 Riverside Point; and 12 Greenwood Avenue

cafeiguana.com

Maybe the jubilation was heightened by the couple of margaritas under our belt, but the sopapilla ($13), a deep-fried flour tortilla drizzled with honey, cinnamon and vanilla ice cream was an “Ay, caramba!” moment.

Earlier, with willpower, we had eschewed the traditional burritos, tacos and fajitas in favour of healthier options from the grill. Both the Australian rib-eye steak ($39) and red snapper ($33), although slightly overcooked, were tasty and came with plenty of vegetables.

Hearty food is a necessity if you start out, as we did, sampling cocktails concocted by the friendly barman. Frozen lime margaritas ($15) made with 100-percent agave El Charro Reposado tequila are good, but why not push the boat out and try the exotic Smokey or El Diablo (both $16)?

Katie Roberts

Muy Importante:

Free chips and salsa? Yes – as it should be

House versus top-shelf margarita: $5.50 to $14 for house (depending on time of day) versus $25 for the Cadillac margarita

 

Viva Mexico

23 Cuppage Road, Cuppage Terrace

6235 0440

A fruity, frozen margarita ($15) is the perfect way to start a Mexican meal and you’ll need another to cool your mouth down after munching on the little devils ($16). These crumbed, deep-fried jalapeno chillies stuffed with cream cheese and beans pack a powerful punch!

The Veracruzana fish ($28), served with Mexican rice, is a healthier option for those watching their waistline. On the other end of the scale is the humungous beef chimichanga ($22). Spicy yet slightly sweet beef, cheese and refried beans are stuffed into a flour tortilla that is then deep-fried, topped with tomatillo and served with rice, salad, guacamole and sour cream. It was surprisingly light, though! The house wine, Santa Cristina Rosso (Toscano) 2008 ($10 glass; $50 bottle), was excellent.

Harriet Empey

Muy Importante:

Free chips and salsa? Yes – as it should be

House versus top-shelf margarita: $14 to $15 versus $16 to $20

 

 

La Salsa Mexican Restaurant & Bar

11 Dempsey Road #01-17

6475 6976 | lasalsa.com.sg

So if there’s two of you and four crab cakes ($30), that means two each, right? Wrong. While I was spooning dill and garlic mayonnaise over my first, my dinner date was wolfing down more than his fair share of La Salsa’s signature appetiser.

Fine, that meant more space for the grilled bacon jalapeño wraps ($14). I’m always a little cautious when the word ‘spicy’ is in bold beside a menu item, but these were totally manageable.

 

For mains, (greedy husband) Paul had Mexican beef meatballs on a hotplate ($32). Drizzled with cheddar and served with tortillas and a platter of guacamole, green and red salsa, sour cream and jalapeños, he set about constructing his own wraps with the focus of a luchador going into a fight. My enchiladas de cangrejo ($32) plate was the size of a sombrero – rice, refried beans, salad, and, the main event, crabmeat layered with tortillas layered with sour cream layered with cheese.

Dessert was cinnamon churros ($8) – long, deep-fried, sugar-coated doughnuts served with chocolate dipping sauce – and a strawberry-topped Mexican vanilla and lime caramel flan ($12).

Jess Smit

Muy Importante:

Free chips and salsa? No – $7 a basket

House versus top-shelf margarita? $10 (25 percent off before 8pm) and $20

Need even more Mexican? Also try:

Baja Fresh Mexican Grill, Cha Cha Cha, El Patio Mexican Restaurant & Wine Bar, Margaritas, Muchos, Piedra Negra, Santa Fe All American Tex-Mex Grill

 

 

What Am I Eating – Mexican or Tex-Mex?

By Monica Pitrelli

Can’t tell the difference? Take this crash course.

Tex-Mex Defined

When inhabitants of northern Mexico began to trickle across the Rio Grande into Texas, they brought the cuisine, mainly of northern Mexico, with them. As the two cultures converged, the food began to morph as new ingredients and cooking styles were introduced. The resulting Tex-Mex cuisine, a literal combination of Texan and Mexican, is largely a descendent of street food dishes that, while lacking the complexity of dishes served in Mexico’s higher-end restaurants, offer a taste that is wildly popular. This Americanised form of Mexican food has spread throughout the US and beyond, where it is commonly referred to simply as “Mexican food”.

The Dishes

If you order: fajitas, chilli con carne, chili con queso, chimichangas, enchiladas with lots of melted cheese

You’re eating Tex-Mex.

If you order: tacos al pastor, carnitas, tortas, cochinita pibil, most dishes with mole sauce

You’re eating Mexican.

 

The Ingredients

The two cuisines share many ingredients, but there’s a good chance you are eating Tex-Mex if you’re eating: an abundance of melted cheese (particularly yellow and orange varieties), sour cream, lettuce, lots of cumin, a taco with a hard shell, a “combination plate” of any type

A special thanks goes to the folks at Señor Taco for their knowledge of Mexican cuisine. With outlets at Star Vista, Chijmes, Orchard Towers and Clarke Quay, this restaurant is a good place to sink your teeth into authentic Mexican food. senortaco.sg

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