Gone are the days of corn chips covered thickly in melted cheese and sour cream - save that for a desperate pantry/fridge searching moment. Give me fresh, zingy flavours not laden with dairy and while we're at it, give me some decent tequila that doesn't remind me of my teenage days.
|Tommy's Margarita pitcher from Barrio Chino, Bayswater Road, Kings Cross|
The jug, the first of many, comes with a wooden spoon to stop the ice coming out when pouring, and we're provided with half salt rimmed glases also filled with ice.
The margarita mix of El Jimador tequila, lime and agave syrup is fairly classic with with an excellent balance of sweet, sour, salt and that trademark tequila kick.
|Ceviche with corn chips|
With the food comes a trio of chilli condiment sauces: one very mild and more lime than chilli; another spicier but manageable; and one that temporarily burns upon touch but doesn't last.
We started with the ceviche of white fish from the botanas snacks section of the menu, cooked and marinated in lime juice.
The Chinese style bowl must have been a play on the name, but the jumble of Spanish onion, avocado, coriander and the occasional bit of juicy mango was just good fun, especially with the house made corn chips. They're nothing like supermarket packet ones and have a real corn flavour about them.
|Black bean taco|
All the tacos are served on soft, double layers of corn flour tacos, which essentially means two tacos per serve (with the amount of topping one one serve, you wouldn't be able to fold up the taco to eat).
One I didn't try at the launch and that was simply fabulous was the baja fish; a lightly battered finger of fish served with finely shredded raw cabbage and a creamy lime sauce. Simple but so very satisfying.
|Roast corn tostada|
The roasted corn version features corn kernels and avocado dressed in a mild chipotle mayonnaise, and takes only a few mouthfuls to crunch and devour the sweet and tart flavours.
|Pulled pork tostada|
|Chicken Borracho torta|
The soft roll is filled with braised and pulled chicken, avocado, iceberg lettuce and chipotle sauce. While it's tasty, it has nothing on the flavour-packed tostadas and tacos - and sadly no amount of condiments will change that.
The back dining area in Barrio Chino is filled with stimulants such as the beautiful crowds, colourful decorations, loud music and open kitchen. The booths in the front are perfect for pre or post dinner drinking, while it looks hard to nab a seat at the long bar where all the margarita and tequila action happens.
Chinatown or not, I hope this fresh and zingy style of Mexican cuisine is here to stay because BarrioChino is just darn good.