Petit Fours: a Sydney food blog


Petit Fours: a Sydney food blog


Petit Fours: a Sydney food blog

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

El Loco, Surry Hills

"Secret" Taco. The name that's nearly infamous with all food bloggers familiar with the Surry Hills area. You really need a little loco in you to have a go. Okay I'm exaggerating but it certainly is for the slightly more adventurous. I've been here numerous times and I've tried basically every body part of every animal in existence from this place. Some days you might get something a little tame like lamb sweet breads, liver or crab, other days giblets and one day pigs uterus. For a guy who dislikes pig and who certainly doesn't eat uterus on a daily basis. Don't get me wrong, it was far from terrible. It had a sort of kidney/ livery texture and not much flavour but had I known, maybe I would of imagined something a whole lot more wacky. 

More than excited for an early week lunch break, El Loco is a comfortable walk from central station where Dan Hong's venture into Mexican territory is a welcome sight. You'll find all sorts of diners here; from the family to the businessman, to hipsters to old couples. It never struck me that a bar could be so... uniting. And it's hard not to like this buzz around it. It's the sort of food you dig in with your hands and get all messy. 

Keen to get stuck in, the daily specials never fail to impress. 

Calamari, Salsa Verde, Mayo, Tapico 5

NO WORDS can do justice of how remarkably tender this calamari was. NO WORDS. I'm not even exaggerating. This was insanely good. Probably the best calamari I've had in a long while. It's was just melting. I don't think anyone's ever described calamari like that but it was. The freshness was beyond measure. Slap on creamy salsa verde and some mayo topped with little pops of roe and you've got probably one of my favourite dishes this year. Happy to say that.

'Secret Taco' 5
First I'd like to say that this was a mean taco to eat. It's just so hard to wrap your hands around the thing. First bite all I got was crunch because it was really well fried. Every subsequent bite I still had no idea what I was eating. It had a sort of metalicey taste so obviously it was an offal of some sort. It had a wonderful meatiness and a delicate gamey flavour. Turns out it was lamb sweetbread. What I think were gherkins weren't that acidic but balances extremely well with the heat of the Spanish onions and sweet corn kernels.

Corn Chips with Guacamole and Salsa 5
For 5 dollars, this can fill up any stomach on a budget. The chips taste like any other store bought chips and weren't anything spectacular. I usually loath coriander; the liberal amounts in pho and even micro herbs occasionally overwhelm too much. The usage in the salsa, however, was very appropriate. That along with the acidity really tempers out the heat of the spanish onions and chillis. The guacamole was creamy and cool but the salsa was easily more favoured for it's heat. Hot, cold, hot, cold (excuse the homer shower reference). I'd imagine having them all by yourself would get a bit boring though cause you run out of dip pretty quickly.

I have no idea why I moved inside. Ahhh the unexplainable tendencies of a noob photographer.

Mushrooms, Mozzarella, Pickled Jalapenos and Chipotle Mayo 5

The giant field mushrooms were big and meaty and I like the fact that they were kept whole. The whole bite works really well especially with the jalapenos which provided a barely detectable tartness but it was the heat behind it that kept me coming back for more. And of course melted cheese on anything makes it a whole lot better. Even though chipotle is actually made of jalapenos, the coolness behind the mayo provided a soothing counterpoint.

Fish Torta 12
Tortas are actually sandwiches in Mexico. It was great seeing an proper unaltered fillet of fish in there but it was a tad overcooked and consequently was a bit dry but I don't think that there's anything a little mayonnaise can't fix up! The cabbage was lifeless but hits of coriander and lime juice punctuated every bite and the amazing salsa does wonders. It was good but I think I'll stick with the land animal variants.

Orange Flavoured Churros with Honey Dulce de Leche 7
I have yet to find the perfect churro. Sometimes they've got all crunch and have no soft doughy chouxyness in the inside. Sometimes it's just all soft and not crisp enough. I find that there's never the perfect balance. These aren't perfect but they come pretty damn close. The churros here, perfumed with cinnamon sugar of course, are incredibly well done. They're soft and lovely in the inside but slightly less crunchy than I'd like on the outside. The orange zestiness pairs beautifully well with the deeper honey flavoured caramel, sweet but surprisingly not overbearingly so. And it was such a huge serving as well. 

That green sauce looks lethal huh? I know.

Don't expect any soft delicate flavours here. It's smack bang punches from all directions. Hands on food. Food that's bold and exciting. Food that's generous and cheap. That's my sort of food. It doesn't hurt that they have Coldplay and Temper Trap playing loudly in the background and all their containers, plates and cups are biodegradable as well. El loco does it all with such brilliance, it's a wonder how they can keep it at such affordable prices. It's little wonder, however, why this place manages to be so popular. 

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was the Mushrooms, Mozzarella, Pickled Jalapenos and Chipotle Mayo on special? I never see this when im at el loco :( it sounds so good!

@ tastyfoodsnaps. Yeah it was the daily special. It was good, it really was. There's also something interesting happening in El Loco so it's bound to reappear on the menu again!

There really are many benefits to eating nutritious food however, make sure to plan in advance because people can sometimes get very busy and then eat pre-packaged foods. Just make sure that you have plenty of tasty recipes that are fun and easy to prepare so that you can eat a nutritious meal as often as possible.

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No, we aren't the most amazing gastronomes or chefs. Heck, half our team doesn't even know how to cook... well. However, what we really love is eating. And lots of it. We enjoy that occasional freebie, filling up that craving for a midnight snack and finding a 20 in our pockets that we thought we never had, and using that as an excuse to go out eating. As we battle the ongoing war on uni student poverty, we'll bring you the most swoon worthy recounts of our latest foodie adventures.

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