Monday, 3 February 2014

Paco's Tacos

Level 1 500 Bourke St 
Melbourne, VIC 

Remember that terrible heat wave we had in the middle of January, where the temperature soared up to 40 degrees for 4 days in a row? But the evening before Melbourne became a blazing inferno was a gorgeously summery 32 degrees – perfect for after-work tacos and a cheeky drink or two (theoretically anyway, as I am too much of a lightweight to even hold one drink). 

When Paco’s Tacos replaced MoVida Terraza a couple years back, I was torn between excitement and outrage. On one hand, how dare they get rid of anything MoVida? But on the other hand, tacos by Camorra! A series of lukewarm reviews however, coupled with outdoor seating, meant that it wasn’t until now that I paid this Mexican cantina a long overdue visit. 

Located on the terrace outside of MoVida Aqui, Paco’s Tacos is festively decked out with large umbrellas and tables covered in lurid tablecloths. You order at the counter, which is really more of a bar, and then you sit down and wait for your Mexican street food. 

Verduras/Chorizo/Pollo Taco ($6ea)

To start, we ordered a trio of tacos. At six dollars a pop, they’re not cheap, but it’s still pretty good by Melbourne standards, especially considering that these are some of the most generously sized tacos I’ve had to date. The Verduras ($6) was a mash of creamy black beans pepped up with the heat of jalapenos. The Chorizo ($6) was lighter and more piquant, the generous chunks of chorizo fatty and sour, topped with crunchy corn salsa and shredded cabbage. Our favourite of the day was the Pollo ($6), the ample pieces of grilled chicken rubbed with spice mix, complemented by tangy pickled onion relish. All three tacos were varying degrees of delicious, and the only thing I’d change is to double wrap them with an extra tortilla for more structural integrity. 

BBQ Corn ($6)

In the interlude between our tacos and nachos, I munched on some of my favourite BBQ Corn ($6). These weren’t as sweet or juicy as I would’ve liked, erring on the dry side. All the mistakes however were hidden below a snowstorm of fluffy queso, which added its creaminess to the spicy chipotle mayo. 

Nachos (small, $10)

Nachos (small, $10)

After sorting out a small mix-up in the kitchen, we were served a huge basket of Nachos (small, $10). These were easily the best nachos I’ve ever had, the rustic corn chips topped with a breezy yet flavoursome combination of salsa, guacamole, and sour cream. It may have been light on the cheese, but the massive deposits of guacamole meant that we were completely satisfied with none of the guilt. It took me a huge amount of will to not continue picking at the cheesy corpse of the nachos long after I was full.

And here is another occasion where I am kicking myself for not visiting a restaurant sooner. All things considered, this is a great place for some casual Mexican food that’s full on flavour and low on snob. The tacos are a shade behind the ones at Mamasita, but they’re almost twice the size and infinitely more accessible. We sat around, feeding remnants of our nachos to the birds, until the mosquitoes began to bite. 

Rating: 14.5/20 – cheesy corpse.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit. 

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