By: Verne Maree
Lower East Side Taqueria
19 East Coast Road
The compact menu of this informal, open eatery on an East Coast Road corner doesn’t claim to be authentic anything. “Call it Singapore Mexican,” says friendly manager Tron Young. “Or Smex, if you like.”
Corn chips and guacamole ($9) can be ordered with up to four extra dips ($5 each). From a selection of craft beers, I choose a bottle of Wheat King Ale ($15), Roy a Corona ($12); to beat the heat, we recommend a glass of horchata ($5), rice and almond milk flavoured with cinnamon.
We share a good pork belly taco (single $11; trio $28) and an excellent tilapia taco (singe $12; trio $28). Our octopus and squid burrito ($18) is fresh and light, with an unexpected crunch of green apple, but the bacon rather overwhelms the seafood. More satisfying is the cumin and grilled chicken burrito ($15) – also with bacon, but it can take it. Charcoal grilled beef ($28) is a slim slab of tasty Aussie ribeye served on a salad with grapes and green apple (again), conveniently sliced for sharing.
Our verdict? If you’re in the area and in the mood for a beer to wash down some light Mexican (-ish) nosh with a good, slow chilli-burn, it’s worth a go.
Must-try dish: Tilapia taco