The best (or worst...) part of staying at a hotel is that evening walk around looking for a decent place to eat that is both not too expensive and not too full of trendy people or tourists. I'm generally looking for a quiet place where I can just sit in the corner, get some food and then be on my way.
Unfortunately, El Loco at Excelsior appears to be quite a decently busy place in the heart of Sydney near the Central train station... and it would normally be the sort of place that I would avoid like the plague... except, I was crazily hungry and didn't want to walk around too much... and I had a curious interest about how good their Mexican food was. After all, good Mexican food is a real treat... but only if you manage to find it! And you are only going to find it by trial and error exploration!
So, I figured that I might as well step into this pub/hotel/restaurant and see what it had to offer... even if it looked loud, noisy and too full of cool kids.
There is quite a bit of outdoor seating... and the ordering system is a little bit strange. But indoors is where I felt most comfortable... and just by luck, I was able to find a little corner to tuck away into... but one that was decidedly quite noisy... actually, the whole place is loud... with noise from talking and quite loud music as well. Sigh...
The place is dressed up in quite a festive fashion, with bright colours and lots of Mexican themed decorations... it is a bit eye-catching and confusing, but it is otherwise pleasant... but I do wish that the music was down a little bit!
The menu has a great mix of interesting things to try! Of course, all of it is with a Mexican theme... and like many things in Australia, things are just more expensive than I remember.
Now, given that you have a paper sort of menu, you would expect that you can just order at the bar or that there would be some sort of table service. However, like many places in Australia, they have gone the way of the QR code... when you randomly scan a QR code on the table to be taken a web portal where you can order your food and drinks.
I've said it before, and I will say it again... scanning random QR codes left, right, and centre is the most horrific security nightmare imaginable. It is on par with just clicking random links... one day, I'm just going to bring a few QR code stickers and see how much money I can make from people randomly clicking links...
... and lets be perfectly honest, why does ordering food require so much personal details? Thankfully, I have a number of dump personas and emails that I can feed these things... but seriously, it is really quite unnecessary.
I opted for a light sort of dinner, with a selection of three different tacos. One fish, one pulled pork, and another with roasted cauliflower.... and it was good! Seriously, I wasn't really expecting too much from this place, and my experience of Mexican food at restaurants has been limited to one really really good one in the Netherlands...
... and so, I was just expecting something sort of half-arsed, and was quite pleasantly surprised to find something that was full of flavour and not just stupidly spicy to cover up bad cooking.
Absolutely delicious, and definitely the fish taco and the cauliflower tacos were really the stand out.
So, a Horchetta, in the non-alcoholic variant... I had the beginnings of a headache, which thankfully turned out not to be coronavirus, but just a regular run-down-ness...
I've never had this drink, and it is quite a refreshing taste... cinnamon, rice milk, condensed milk, and vanilla... served chilled. Really, I could get used to this in the summer!
El loco at Excelsior is really quite busy... but there is a good reason for that. It does serve up pretty good food, and it is one of the few places that is open in the evenings in the area on this side of Central. I'm not sure why there is a bit of a black hole of restaurants over here... as you fan out in different directions, you get quite a range of places... but for some reason, these few streets are a bit bare and quiet in the evenings.
It is crazily popular... which means that it is noisy, and busy. A mixed signal... which if you are like me, it means that there are too many people (bad) and possibly the food is good (good...).
Service was fast... and I had absolutely no complaints otherwise.
So, I think I will definitely be returning if I find myself staying the area again... but I will choose my moments a bit more carefully to avoid the cool kids rush.
Address: 64 Foveaux St, Surry Hills NSW 2010
Phone: (02) 9114 7339