Sunday, September 25, 2022

Café Mexicana Spices Up City Centre. 30 Years of Music, Colour, Food.

Café Mexicana Spices Up City Centre 

30 Years of Music, Colour, Food.


Carey’s Lane is in the heart of Cork City. Narrow, busy, with people coming and going from Patrick Street to and from the big rise car-park in Paul Street.

We were strolling there last week, past a cutout of a toothless ruffian. “We haven’t been here with a while,” I said as we entered the café. A different world, inside. Colour, mostly reds and greens, posters for a just past Independence Day, encouragements on the walls to try Sangria and Micheladas, the same ruffian here too. And lively mariachi music: Viva México!

A warm greeting and we were soon seated by the window; an outdoor table or two was also available. And then a big long menu, just as long as you get in some Italian restaurants around town. But this was different. Café Mexicana, with over 30 years behind it, is one of the oldest restaurants in the city and for much of that period the only sit-down Mexican one. Here, using locally sourced produce and adding that  taste of Mexico, they marry traditional and modern, and serve it with a chat and a smile. 

They have lots of meat and fish options and ask you to also explore “our  menu which is full of vegetarian, gluten free and vegan options. Special menu for our little ‘bandidos’ (Children) available.There is also a selection of European dishes.” They have wines, cocktails, Mexican beers and “daring Mexican shots”. 

We had been thinking about having a starter with lunch but decided against it. Just as well perhaps, as the main courses were very generous! Next time, we’ll have to call in the evening and try the tacos, the enchiladas, the aperitifs and, of course, the postres, maybe the spicy beer with strange ingredients called Micheladas.

I made my mind up to try the Veracruz, a traditional dish from the Gulf of Mexico. It is a fillet of fish (hake on this day, it can vary) cooked in sauce of tomatoes, olives, capers and mild peppers, served with rice and salad garnish (€19.00).  This was very satisfactory indeed. I always fancy white fish and tomato in any case but add in the olives, the capers and the peppers plus the rice and the salad, and I was a happy customer.

Tile instead of place mat
CL meanwhile had picked the warm chicken salad (Strips of chicken fillet mildly spiced served on a bed of mixed leaves. with guacamole, rustic potatoes, olives, tomato, onion and corn chips, topped with a lime and lemon vinaigrette), for a euro less. Everything on the list played a part in another delicious dish.

And there was more. Before we started, three little bowls of condiments were placed on the table. One was a lively tomato sauce, another a cooling sour cream, and the other a rather innocent looking green one. Not so innocent though - this was the Jalapeño! But we did use all three and each added something to the meal, even the Jalapeño (we did use it reasonably sparingly and did mix it in). Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

An expiring parking ticket meant there was no time for dessert. Next time!

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