Peri-peri for the win

Updated: Sep 09, 2019, 07:44 IST | Karishma Kuenzang

A new Mexican eatery offers heady sangrias, authentic tacos and peri-peri signatures, though they could improve their portion size

Peri-peri for the win
Pulled chicken tacos. Pics/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

Food: Authentic
Ambiance: Chill
Service: Prompt
Cost: Expensive
Verdict: 1/4

A rice-heavy meal tends to make you feel lethargic and sluggish, but a first tryst with the burrito in New Delhi at a hole-in-the-wall Mexican joint changed our mind. It was a surprisingly meaty rice dish that felt healthy and tasted good. More importantly, it didn’t put us into sleep mode.

Grilled chicken drumsticks
Grilled chicken drumsticks

And so when South African chain Barcelos, known for its peri-peri grills, announced a new Mexican joint in Andheri East that boasts of a vast sangria menu, we decided to head there on a Friday night. That there are two huge nightclubs at this food hub meant the restaurants stay fairly empty and you don’t have to scramble for reservations.

The interiors of the eatery have a distinct tinge of red, and the space is divided into different sections — a massive smoking area with huge windows that open up when you step into the space, a dining area with comfortable sofas in a dimmer area near the bar. A third section has an Instagrammable setting with a cheeky line, ‘Drinks, yes. You, maybe,’ scribbled across a wall in neon, to complement its vast sangria menu. We pick a glass of pomegranate and mint sangria (Rs 325) and a bloody Mary for our partner, but are informed that the latter isn’t available. They suggest a whiskey spiced (Rs 550) instead, which apparently is similar.

Crunchy cheese poppers
Crunchy cheese poppers

We pick the crunchy cheese poppers, California prawns and grilled chicken drumsticks as the three components of the appetiser platter (Rs 625), and wait as we groove to the smooth instrumental music, punctuated by old-school favourites by bands like Aerosmith. The sangria arrives and the first sip isn’t enough to satiate our tastebuds because there is so much happening, and subtly so. The pomegranate seeds give a distinct sweet taste to the red wine; the orange slice and juice lend a tangy flavour that balances well with the strong dose of dark rum. It’s perfect for a girl’s night out, too.

The appetiser platter arrives next, and our first reaction is a disappointment because the portions don’t match up to expectations. This, because we were comparing it to another global Mexican chain in the city that’s known for its large servings. We bite into the cheese balls, which though gooey and cheesy (mature cheddar and mozzarella), isn’t exactly what we would call crunchy.

California prawns
California prawns

The African chilli-infused mayonnaise isn’t hot enough though it does have a hint of the flavour. Things start looking up with the grilled chicken drumsticks that come coated with their signature peri-peri spice and sauce, which enhance the flavours of the succulent pieces that almost fall off the bone. There is nothing spectacular about their California prawns apart from the juicy flavours of the crustacean.

The whiskey spiced finally arrives; it’s strong and heavy on cinnamon. Next up, we get the pulled chicken tacos (Rs 365) and crispy prawn burrito (Rs 565). Now, we are used to hard taco shells thanks to the Taco Bell wave a few years ago, so the soft-shell tacos here seem more like rolls. But that’s until you take the first bite. The veggies are fresh and crunchy; the chipotle mayo works even though it’s not abundant, and the chicken balances out the tartness of the sauce. Not the best taco we have had, but it’s still pretty decent.

Pomegranate and mint sangria
Pomegranate and mint sangria

We have an issue with the prawn in the crispy prawn burrito (Rs 565), as there’s no crunch to the prawn and the portions are meagre. If only they had put more cheese in it instead of the overtly generous helping of rice, which unfortunately has us feeling bloated soon after, prompting us to abandon it halfway through. The refried beans in the burrito are a delight though — and thankfully not mashed, like it is at some places — and hence adds to the texture of the dish as well. The guacamole and sour cream it comes with could have been sharper. We’ll be back for a sangria night and stick to their peri-peri preparations and tacos.

The interior pictures
The interior pictures

At Rassasy By Barcelos, The ORB, next to JW Marriott Sahar Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, IA Project Road, Andheri East.
Timing 12 pm to 12 am
Call 7718870774

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