It was a cold and wintery night when A and I decided to get a little bit of dinner, the original plan was to go to the aviary however A mentioned that she was craving something else. She mentioned that she was craving some Mexican so we looked around urbanspoon and el publico came up, we both wanted to try it so we ventured out into the rain to see if it was as good as we hope. What we noticed from the front was that the restaurant looked subdued.
Looking around inside i quite liked the decor of el publico, everything from the bright red neon bull on the wall to these cool drawings on the wall and i thought it was all very stylish. I felt that the wait staff were quite enthusiastic to take our order, almost overly so.
After a short break the waiter returned with our drinks, A had ordered (unknowingly) a $17 margarita that she felt was expensive for a pretty standard margarita and i ordered a tecate which i quite enjoyed however i feel that it probably would be better suited for drinking under the sun in the middle of summer.
When i was looking over the menu deciding what to order i saw they have small whole fried prawns, this instantly excited me because i quite like the flavour of prawn shells especially when they are crispy. My first thoughts when they arrived at my table were “there are a lot of prawns here for $9!”, then i tasted one and i felt that they were alright however they could have done with a lot of seasoning. After having about a dozen of these prawns they started to get cold and a little bit chewy so i didn’t have any more after that. 3/10
The second side that we ordered was some roasted chickpeas which turned out to be the surprise hit of the night! The had been rubbed with spices and roasted so they had a fantastic moreish nature to them. A’s thoughts on these were “The chickpeas were okay but i got over them fairly quickly”.
Then the main dish that A chose arrived not too long after that, she had ordered some enchiladas that were filled with prawns and some re fried beans, here thoughts on this particular dish were “The flavours of this dish were really strong and i wouldn’t order it again”.
Looking over the menu deciding what to order my eyes were drawn to the mole. A mole is a thick gravy that has chocolate added, this particular rendition had chunks of lamb included. When it arrived i was immediately hit with just how incredibly rich this smelled, the taste mirrored the smell. It took quite a bit to get through this serving as it was just so rich and i felt a little ill when i was done. I felt that it could have done with some vegetables served with it rather than some token bits of radish and coriander. 4/10
At the end of the day i am glad that i went to el publico to say that i have tried it but i probably wont return. The food just isn’t tasty enough to warrant a return, especially considering there are loads of fantastic restaurants within walking distance. Now is the time for the simon says eat editorial: I think part of the reason why i didn’t love el publico is it’s a share plate restaurant and i don’t love that concept. The main reason why i don’t love it is i normally really enjoy the side dishes on a traditional main course (like with the mole dish above, i would have liked either some rice or some vegetables to go with the mole) as much as the main course itself and share plate seem purely about one particular thing. When i asked A for her opinion of el publico she said that if she was craving mexican tapas she would just go to la cholita.