If you want a dose of Tex Mex, don’t come here. If you, on the other hand, fancy a bit of Chinese food as the name suggests – don’t come here either. What Barrio Chino serves is beautiful tapas style morsels of quality Mexican food. A contradiction in terms, right? Wrong…
Barrio Chino is located in the old …..find out….. site on Bayswater Road in Kings Cross. The front is simple and open and looks… uh… elegant? The only clue that we are heading into a Mexican taqueria is the cute fresco of two sleepy chicos enjoying their siesta on the front entry wall.
Once inside we are met by a friendly and upbeat host who guides us to a spot on the bar asking if we wouldn’t mind terribly much to wait for 15mins for a table – No hay problema!! (No problem!) As we walk, I ask her why the restaurant is named after China Town? Apparently the owner is Chinese and it’s a cheeky play on words / cultures. Hmmm… very clever…
Once at the bar, we order 2 glasses (also available in a jug) of Tommy’s Margaritas. The menu says “no shitty tequila” – and well – we’re up for that! My first sip is delicious and refreshing. My second makes me glad I’m not driving home. I may have to get there in a wheelbarrow (or similar).
As our table becomes available we are ushered past big long tables for 20 and timber booth seats along the wall. The ceilings are clad in rustic timber from which are suspended cute little exposed lightbulbs which you can get from David Met Nicole in Surry Hills (well used to be able to?).
We are seated towards the end of the restaurant in what I can only describe as a patio kind of area. The ceiling here is smoked polycarbonate and timber beams, strung with little fairy lights. I feel like we have just walked into a little Spanish fiesta! Our table is a long timber slatted trestle with bench seats and we choose to sit side-by-side as I don’t fancy our chance of being able to hear one another across the table considering it’s generous width and the loud raucous laughter and chatter that fills the room. If there is any music, we don’t hear it – but the whole vibe is fun and vivacious and you really don’t miss it at all.
The idea is snacky, tapasy little portions to help soak up your booze so we order the ‘Guac’ and Chips ($8), Snapper and Calamari Cerviche ($15 – which is to die for!), the Pork Baby Back Ribs with chipotle sauce ($16 – I eat mine and wish I could also eat Oscar’s serve, but he has already polished it off), a Spicy Tuna Taco ($6) that we bite in half and share, the same goes for the Carne Asada Taco ($6) and the Taco of the Week ($7) which is juicy pork backstrap and easily the best thing we eat. As we lean back to allow all this to digest, Oscar calls the waitress and orders a serve of Churros ($10) – like we need dessert – but this is yummy too, and I might just have stuck my finger in the remaining dulce de leche sauce… but only maybe….
Summary: Light-hearted, fun and a place to go with a bunch of friends. Beautiful, fresh and modern food. Viva Mexcio!! Ole!!
PS – Just noticed it’s Friday the 13th!! Go Locco Everyone!!