El loco, Excelsior

In the theme of The Norfolk pub, The Excelsior has also turned its bistro to Mexican style food. My sister suggests trying El Loco one night to compare.

It is a drizzly weeknight, and the crowd spills amiably onto the street. We manage to snare half of an outside table covered in yellow gingham style contact which reminds me of my childhood. There are bottles of red and green hot sauce of the table. the outside walls are decorated with brightly colored metal pots containing succulents and herbs.

After much deliberation, we decide to order prawn taco, chicken taco ($5 ea), the El Loco “healthy” chilli marinated tofu salad($12) and pork “torte” sandwich ($10). Most fillings that are available in a taco are also available in sandwich/burger format.
Of course our careful menu planning goes out the window when I get to the bar, and there are also quesadilla’s and a secret taco in the menu.

How could I resist?

The chicken is jettisoned, and we order a secret taco instead.

About 10 minutes later, the pulled pork sandwich arrives. The pork has been spit roasted, pulled to bits, and placed on a hamburger type bun. There’s mayo, grated cabbage, coriander and it is quite moreish. The coriander is part of the ‘picco de gallo’ sauce, but tastes very fresh and not like it has been marinating for too long.

El Loco, The Excelsior: Pork Sandwich
The secret taco arrives. It has little fried white bait, with lettuce, cabbage, coriander and a swirl of smokey chipotle chilli sauce that looks like thousand island dressing. It is served on a soft wheat tortilla. The whitebait is crunchy and the taco flavour combination goes down well.
The prawn taco is topped with a light brown sweet-ish salsa. I can’t quite place it, but I think apple is involved.
El Loco, The Excelsior: tacos

Finally: the El Loco salad. I dispute its billing as a “healthy”. It has fresh deep fried silken tofu (supposedly marinated in chilli sauce, I couldn’t find it), and skinny cut strips of tortilla. When it arrives there are gasps of amazement from other diners. The tortilla chips keep their crunch throughout the eating, and don’t taste as floury or oily as from The Norfolk. The salad also contains spring onion, strongly flavored fennel, chunks of avocado, coriander, freshly grated cheese and radish. Radish, which is normally very strong and peppery is quite sweet and hard to spot. We really liked this salad, and it comes in meateater format with a slab of minute steak.

I tried the El Loco salad again at a later date and the chilli marinade on the tofu appears to gave been replaced with Hoisin sauce which I dislike.

The secret taco changes on a weekly basis. On a later date the secret taco contains slow-cooked beef chunks and smokey chipotle chilli mayo.

All soft tacos are also available with a lettuce as an alternative.

El Loco @ The Excelsior
64 Foveaux Street
Surry Hills 2010
Mon-Tue: 12noon -11pm
Wed: 12noon – 1am
Thu – Sat: 12noon-3am
Sun:12noon – 10pm

Seating available outside until
9pm.

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