Sai Ying Pun is certainly the current hotspot for food and drink, with a new eatery opening up practically every other week. The overflow of restaurants has now spread to what is technically Mid-Levels, just past the escalators on residential street Bonham Road, where El Loco Gringo is now open for business.
If you’re afraid of disturbing the neighbours, which is something you have to be mindful of when you’re at any bar close to apartment buildings, you needn’t fret. The Gringo is located way underground, bunker deep. Thankfully, with high ceilings and spacious surrounds, your inner claustrophobe needn’t surface. Looking like a Mexican side street, with bras and T-shirts hanging from washing lines across the ceiling, a red neon sign suggestively says ‘lick, sip’ and ‘suck’.
Quirky interiors aside, there’s a strong selection of tequilas to choose from. An array of choices is on offer, with categories ranging from unaged blancos to matured anejos that are $70 to $170 a shot. We opt for something a bit more esoteric on the cocktail menu and start with a Michelada ($100), a beer based concoction using Sol, tomato and lime sauce, Gringo’s secret hot sauce and rimmed with spicy paprika salt. It’s savoury and the beer has less of a cloying effect compared to the spiked tomato juice of a bloody Mary. A refreshing start. Next up is the Loco’s Margarita ($100), a mix of Gran Centenario, Cointreau, peaches and molasses. The fruit aromas are strong and smooth, while the tequila also blossoms on the palate. An elegant take on the classic cocktail.
The food is worthy of note and the tacos are especially awesome. The base is imported straight from Mexico, made only with corn flour and is unlike the heavy, doughy versions frequently found around town. The spit roast pork ($40) scores top marks with its smoky charred meat pairing exceptionally well with the pineapple chutney.
This quiet-on-the-outside, rowdy-on-the-inside tequila bar hits all the right marks. It’s got a fun atmosphere, creative cocktails and authentic Mexican food. The drinks are good, but we’d come back just to try the tacos alone.
El Loco Gringo 49 Bonham Rd, Mid-Levels, 2858 8833; casteloconcepts.com.
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49 Bonham Rd
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