“I’ve seen zero evidence of any nation on Earth other than Mexico even remotely having the slightest clue what Mexican food is about or even come close to reproducing it. It is perhaps the most misunderstood country and cuisine on Earth.” – Anthony Bourdain
Mexicano is one of those restaurants who could definitely challenge the words written above. If any, Thailand might be, from the hand of Chef Carlos Bravo, an exception to the erroneous and narrow concept many seem to have of Mexican food. Tucked away up in first floor of the Rembrandt Hotel Bangkok in Sukhumvit Soi 18, it inspires passions.
We were warmly greeted to the sound of a live band playing Mexican baladas setting a beautiful mood to our evening. Chef Carlos explained to us the restaurant’s 80 percent Mexican to 20 percent Tex Mex dish repertoire, and from there began the party.
Right up came two fantastic frozen margaritas, greatly balanced, with a deep soothing taste, slushy, fresh and a perfect companion for the rest of our evening. Along with it, adhering to the restaurant’s finesse, a bottle of Spanish Solán de Cabras water
Subsequently the first treat: a serving table came rolling in, on top of which sat a large mortar with which a smiling sous-chef made us an absolutely fabulous guacamole: using the imported Morelos Avocado (known for its softness), it bore a very subtle but distinguished taste, creamy, slightly spicy, and well balanced. With a characteristic touch of coriander, it complemented with a brand of outstanding tortilla chips made with spinach and to be dipped in two delicious sauces, which provided a great contrast of textures.
Next was a dish of true beauty, brought in a platter with ice and scattered sesame seeds: a Tuna & Sea Bass Ceviche from Baja California, comprising a combination of avocado, mango, coriander, Mexican chilli crispy tortillas, lemon juice, orange juice and olive oil, it rendered us lost for words. This is a dish, which according to Chef Carlos, is consumed on Saturday morning, with a nice cold beer on a sunny day. Tangy, with a sweet fruity touch from the mango, prolonged onto a whole-bodied spicy flavour of the sea bass, ending in a deep flavour from the avocado and the coriander. To go with it, the crispy tortillas added a fabulous texture to the body. A true explosion of flavour.
Then came a typical dish of Shrimps Al Ajillo (dry chilli). With its apple cider, array of spices, red wine, olive oil and other secrets, it granted a fantastic bang of tastes. The impressive freshness of the shrimp combined amazingly with the spice of the ajillo, which gave it a signature strength. With a soft and meaty aftertaste, it made for an astonishing experience.
We then turned our attention to a classic Taco de Carnitas with sweet milk. Made of incredibly soft pulled pork, crispy pork skin, golden in colour with a sauce that granted a contrasting spicy touch, it was capped off with the aromatic essence given by the splash of tequila. Truly vibrant.
We were then treated to a dish of fantastic beauty: Enchiladas made in the most elaborate of ways, with roasted tomatoes, garlic, jalapeños, coriander, boiled and blended made into a marvellous sauce. Below it was, nicely wrapped up, a combination of chicken tinga, chipotle sauce, a fifty-fifty cheddar-mozzarella mix and fabulous accessory of refried beans. Smoky, spicy, tangy, wholesome and filled with character, this was a truly special one.
It’s not as if we weren’t full by this point, but dishes were so delicious that we could not force ourselves to stop. Surely enough, dessert made it into us – and how impressed we were.
First up an absolutely baffling concept: Tres Leches, which translates to Three Milks, is a dish with a portion of vanilla biscuit which has been infused with condensed, evaporated and normal milk, to then be subsequently boiled with vanilla and sugar before being left to gather flavours for three days. The softness of this dish was awe-inducing, as infused with the palate upon every bite and seamlessly melted in the mouth upon the slightest of touches. Aromatic, rich in flavour and beautifully crafted, it was a spectacular experience for the lovers of texture. Served next to it was the strawberry ice cream. Homemade, incredibly balanced, with fantastic feel and a touch of chocolate, it concluded an evening of wonders.
Mexicano truly is one to visit. Be it to be surprised by their pragmatic daily Chef Recommends innovations ranging from homemade chorizo to the ceviche itself, Mexicano redefines Mexican food entirely. If you haven’t been there yet, as they would say in Mexico: ¿A qué esperas?
19 Sukhumvit 18 Klong Toey Bangkok 10110
Asoke BTS / Sukhumvit MRT
Opening time: 5pm to midnight (daily dinner)
12pm to 3 pm (Saturday brunch)
Tel: 02 261 7100 ext 7550