Mr NQN and I were driving across the harbour bridge at around 7:30pm and we were headed towards the beach. We usually have no problems driving far and wide for a meal but it was one and a half hours after my usual dinner time and I was getting a bit cranky. "Are we there yet? Surely Narrabeen is around the corner?" I would say sighing deeply, trying to chase images of fish tacos and ceviche out of my mind.
Texts from Nick tell us that Mexicano is actually situated next to a larger place called AJs. The Mexicano sign is subtle and only really visible on closer inspection. We drive into the carpark and park there and walk towards the restaurant. Any anxiety is immediately lifted when we breathe in the ocean air deeply. There's nothing more relaxing and I think immediately of weekends. Two surfers holding surfboards ponder the waves. Nick, Attila, Mr NQN and I walk across to Mexicano.
It's a breezy evening with a chill in the air so there are plastic protectors up so that diners are buffered from the wind. We're offered a choice of a high bar table or a regular table and we take the high table so that we can see the kitchen. Service is friendly and personable.
Jalapeno margarita $17
"We're famous for our jalapeno margaritas," they tell us so we order some of these. I take a sip and I can see why. The spicy jalapeno is present in just the right amount. I can easily imagine these on a hot summer's afternoon. Bring on summer...
The first bites come out quickly and the guacamole is good and strong with the flavour of onion and garlic while the lime and chilli take a backseat. The corn chips are crispy and moreish.
Beef Tostadas $20
The tostadas are crispy underneath a soft beef topping fragrant with cinnamon and clove, crema as well as pickled radish to balance the richness of the beef. Atilla tastes guajillo chillies in this too.
Scallop ceviche $18
The Queensland scallop ceviche is a fresh dish, generous with scallops with plenty of tang from lime juice, red onion, slices of jalapeno and fried onion on top. They're served with corn crisps.
I must admit that I particularly liked the tender and juicy winglets and the sweetness from the agave and powdered peanuts makes them addictive. They're first salt brined and then fried until crisp and then drenched in the sauce.
"What are you doing Nick?" I ask him as he is busy playing with his phone. "Stop looking at your snap chat!" I say to him while he pleads innocent. He's busy instagramming food photos instead.
The calamari, a safe, crowd pleasing dish is freshly cooked, crunchy and well seasoned.
Lamb Quesadilla $16
The lamb quesadilla is a flour tortilla filled with slow cooked lamb shoulder and lightened with sweet, mint salsa and sweet onions. It's good although a little pricey for the filling and size.
Fish Tacos $5 each
The other thing that they're known for here are fish tacos. These are golden battered fillets of fish with a mango, slaw and chipotle mayonnaise. The first bite is good but it really needs a bit of spice so we add one of the three sauces on the table and it brings it together well.
Pork Cochinita Pibil $21.20 for four
The Yucutan style pork was served with four small corn tortillas and the pork is soft and flavoursome with sides of pickled red onion, lime wedges and jalapeno. While we all enjoyed it we thought that they could have given more corn tortillas especially as they're quite small. You can order more at $3 for four.
Grilled chorizo chimichurri $13
The grilled chorizo chimmichurri is a tasty mix of garlic, oil, herbs and tomato with grilled chorizo slices. It is a good dish to end the savouries on.
"Would you like dessert?" our waitress asks us and Nick springs to action. "What would YOU recommend?" he says turning his attention to our waitress. Yes ladies, Nick is still single and seeking women. She takes our order and I give her a warning. "Don't date him girl!" I tell her, to which she giggles.
Warm Crepe $13
The crepe is a folded over soft crepe served warm with a drenching of liquid cajeta milk caramel and small chunks of praline nut brittle and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It's sweet, a bit too sweet for me although it would be favoured by a staunch sweet tooth.
Ice cream sandwich $13
Far more my speed was the ice cream sandwich although one thing would have been to serve this with a knife to help cut up the florentine. The florentine is a layer of coconut toffee biscuit on two sides sandwiching a layer of ice cream, a thin layer of white chocolate and honeycomb within the ice cream. On top were thinly sliced strawberries. We made sure that none went back to the kitchen.
We're the last to leave, taking the cue from the chairs being stacked. Nick lingers using the excuse that he needs to use the bathroom and I repeat the warning, "Don't date him girl!"
So tell me Dear Reader, do you get hangry (hungry angry) when you are hungry? Or are you like Mr NQN who can last for a long time without food?
This meal was independently paid for.
209-211 Ocean Street, Narrabeen, NSW
Tel: +61 (02) 9970 8975
http://www.mexicano.com.au/ Open Tuesday to Sunday 6pm-11pm