I love Mexican Society Chinatown, I really do. Head chef, Alejandro Huerta, has earned his stripes; previously exec chef at Laboratorio Culinario Mexico and MAPRE (both Mexico City), he’s now also head chef at Chica Bonita’s Clarence St. restaurant in Sydney.
Under Alejandro, Mexican Society has been serving up some solid non-traditional Mexican for a few years now. It won he 2017 ‘Awards of Excellence’ National ‘Mexican Restaurant’ GOLD, 90% of their menu is gluten free and you can indulge in the Mexican Vegano tasting experience (min 2 peeps, $40 per peep) but when I went there on Friday night with my husband for our pre-Book of Morman scoff, I was left a bit flat. I hate being flat because I love writing rave reviews about places that get me excited. But, I’m an honest reviewer, so I’ll give it to you to straight.
It starts off well! The service at Mexican Society is always top notch. The staff are genuinely social, not rushed and always bend over backwards to answer questions. Not only that, but the entire right hand side of Mexican Society’s menu is dedicated to plant based meals. Now THAT is something to get excited about. The more I eat out the more I see plant-based versions of everything popping up everywhere. Mexican Society is not a vegan or even vegetarian restaurant, far from it, but it caters for those of us who are and that’s great for us and great for the planet, so thank you Mexican Society.
The first course was a jalapeño margarita. Obviously. As ushe, it was delicious. Spicy not too spicy, very tequilaery and a large portion in a non-margarita-glass. Win.
Second course was Mexican Italian (for reals), Fideo Seco With 3 Chillis (#sorrynotsorry Italy, because it was delicious). Srsly, it was the three chilli thing that was going on, I could taste the layers of chillis but the spice was tempered perfectly with a beautiful depth of flavour from I don’t know what. It was hearty and warm and delicious and comfort food, just like pasta is, but Mexicano inspired, fabs!
The third course is where I started to feel like Mexican Society had missed the mark. I don’t know if it was because the chef was rushed (a big table turned up about twenty minutes later and I wonder if there was too much to do in there) or because it just … missed the mark. It was a mole, but it wasn’t really, called the Pistachio Mole Winter Vegetable. The texture was a mix between American grits and semolina and, as you can see from the photo, it was light. I think the essence of mole is its chocolatiness and by that, I don’t mean it should taste like chocolate (which should never dominate, only calm the chillis) but that it should channel chocolate; it’s silkiness, it’s depth of flavour, its darkness… *dream* But this didn’t. And that may have been ok if it was super tasty, but whilst it was ok, it wasn’t anything special. The other serious problem was the undercooked veg. I like crunch (I’m looking at you, you sexy snow peas) and I like bite (oh yes you thickly cut cucumber), but hard beetroot and tough potatoes just aren’t pleasant. This was what made me think the chef was rushed.
So we thought we try the Adobo Cauliflower. The star of this dish was the crispy kale on top; but I can do that at home. I read that the dish included tofu; I couldn’t find it. The cauliflower was cooked well, but was not carrying any flavour, so I turned hopefully to the sauce. The sauce was good, like, ‘I’m not a chef so if I’d cooked that sauce at home I’d be pretty impressed with myself‘ kind of good, but it wasn’t as good as I’d expected from y previous experiences at Mexican Society. I just felt it lacked the complexity that its rusty colour and thick texture tricked my brain into believing my taste buds were about to experience.
So I had another margarita. Obvs.
In summary, a mixed experience, but I can’t end on a downer because I’m so glad of the effort that Mexican Society puts into it’s vegan options and its most wonderful staff. I will come back and I will try more! See you soon…