El Taquero: A refreshing Mexican culinary haven in Wan Chai

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8th November 2023 – (Hong Kong) Injecting a dynamic dose of modern Mexican living into Wan Chai’s dining scene, El Taquero, the latest dining concept by the Epicurean Group, offers a vibrant and easy-going setting dedicated to refreshing, intriguing drinks and satisfying comfort food.

Located at the corner of Ship Street and Queen’s Road East, this 45-seat eatery takes its name from the Spanish description for “the taco vendor.” Throughout the day, El Taquero transforms from a delightful lunch spot into a lively post-work tippling and casual dining destination. The main dining room boasts an interplay of light, facilitated by large modern windows that allow natural daylight to infuse the accessible ambience.

The façade of El Taquero, adorned with vibrant coral-pink plaster and a neon sign, pays homage to the modern Taqueros eateries found in Mexico City. Inside, the space exudes an elegant charm with rustic stone tile flooring and light timber panels. A striking large mirror installation in navy green and brown leather reflects the vibrant orange tabletops, creating a visually captivating atmosphere.

The eatery’s clean and modern look is further enhanced by a prominent wood motif. An extended, curved timber panel wall with integrated wooden shelves showcases an extensive collection of tequilas and mezcals, suspended from the ceiling. To add a touch of theatricality, the culinary team prepares dishes right in front of guests at the open kitchen counter seating, reminiscent of the convivial dining experience in Mexico City.

El Taquero also features a standalone cocktail bar, complete with red bar shelves against a white tile wall. At the marble-topped cocktail bar, guests can indulge in a range of refreshing Mexican-inspired cocktails.

For those with a penchant for agave spirits, El Taquero offers an impressive collection of tequilas and mezcals. Guests can savour these timeless Mexican spirits as shots, accompanied by traditional chasers such as Sangrita or Verdita. Sangrita, a tomato-based concoction with lime juice and spices, and Verdita, a blend of pineapple, mint, coriander, and jalapeño, provide delightful accompaniments to the spirits.

The drinks list at El Taquero draws inspiration from iconic Mexican flavours and classic cocktails that have propelled agave spirits to prominence worldwide. Whether patrons seek a relaxing post-work tipple or a vibrant night out, they can expect familiar favourites like Margaritas and Micheladas, served in both classic and modern variations. Each drink is priced at HK$88, guaranteeing an immersive experience that captures the essence of Mexican flavours.

El Taquero caters to Margarita enthusiasts with an array of options. From the classic Margarita to floral, herbal, and fruity twists, the menu offers a diverse selection. The Mezcal Margarita combines mezcal, blanco tequila, citrus, and a dash of orange liqueur, while the Sage Margarita features reposado tequila, citrus, sage syrup, and apricot liqueur. Other intriguing options include the Hibiscus Margarita with reposado tequila, Ancho Reyes (Mexican chili liquor), citrus, and hibiscus syrup, as well as the Bell Pepper Margarita with reposado tequila, citrus, bell pepper puree, honey, and cilantro. For a delicate touch, the Rose Hip Rose combines jalapeño-infused tequila, strawberry, citrus, and ground pepper.

In Mexican slang, “Michelada” means “my cold beer.” It is a playful term that combines “chela” (a slang for beer), “ada” for “helada” (cold), and “mi” for mine. Often referred to as the Mexican Bloody Mary due to its similar appearance and the inclusion of spices, the Michelada is a popular drink crafted with light beer instead of vodka. Bartenders appreciate its versatility and unique blend of flavours, which pairs well with various cuisines. The most common form of Michelada in Mexico City consists of light beer, lime, salt, hot sauces, or chilli slices. With a lower ABV, Michelada is an ideal choice for a hot summer day.

El Taquero offers several enticing Michelada variations. The Classic Michelada combines tomato juice, orange juice, hot sauce, citrus, salt, and pepper, topped with Mexican light beer. The Corn Sangrita adds a touch of corn syrup, garnished with a piece of grilled corn. The Verdita Michelada tantalizes the taste buds with pineapple juice, jalapeño sauce, Mexican spices, fresh mint, coriander, and light beer. Lastly, the Savory Michelada combines clamato juice, fresh orange juice, hot sauce, and light beer, creating a flavorful blend that delights the senses.

A Passion for Authentic Cooking

El Taquero’s culinary team, led by Executive Chef Alejandro Ramírez Pérez, is deeply passionate about authentic Mexican cooking. Chef Alejandro aims to showcase the diverse flavors and culinary traditions of Mexico through a menu that celebrates classic dishes and innovative creations.

The menu at El Taquero features a variety of tacos, which are the restaurant’s speciality. Guests can choose from an assortment of fillings, including traditional options such as carne asada (grilled beef), al pastor (marinated pork), and pollo adobado (marinated chicken). Vegetarian and vegan options are also available, with fillings like grilled vegetables, black beans, and spicy tofu. The tacos are served on homemade corn tortillas, which are made fresh daily.

In addition to tacos, El Taquero offers a selection of appetizers and small plates that are perfect for sharing. Guests can indulge in dishes like guacamole with homemade tortilla chips, ceviche made with fresh seafood, and quesadillas filled with melted cheese and flavorful ingredients. The menu also includes larger plates such as enchiladas, tamales, and grilled meats served with Mexican rice and beans.

To complement the food, El Taquero offers a curated selection of Mexican beers, including popular brands like Corona and Modelo. The restaurant also features a range of Mexican sodas and refreshing non-alcoholic beverages, such as horchata (a sweet rice drink) and agua frescas (fruit-infused waters).

El Taquero aims to create a lively and welcoming atmosphere, where guests can enjoy delicious food and drinks while immersing themselves in the vibrant culture of Mexico. Whether it’s for a casual lunch, a post-work gathering, or a fun night out with friends, El Taquero promises to deliver an authentic and memorable dining experience.

El Taquero offers a tempting menu of Mexican classics with a touch of creativity that pairs well with both signature and traditional beverages, regardless of the time of day. Their a la carte menu features various taco options, all served with freshly made corn tortillas. You can choose from the following taco selections: Fish Sayulita (HK$56), which consists of crispy mahi-mahi with shredded cabbage, pico de gallo, and chipotle aioli; Chapulines (HK$46), a popular Oaxacan taco with crispy Mexican grasshoppers, guacamole, pico de gallo, and crumbled cheese; and Nopales (HK$46), preserved cactus slices served with pico de gallo, salsa roja, and crumbled cheese.

Other taco options include Bistec (HK$52), sliced Prime beef ribeye with salsa verde, fresh onion, and coriander; Lengua (HK$48), slow-poached ox tongue with garlic, star anise, and clove; and Pollo Adobado (HK$42), grilled chicken thigh marinated with Mexican Adobo and topped with fresh onion, coriander, and salsa roja.

Salsa is an essential component of El Taquero’s tacos, and all their salsas are freshly made on-site using authentic Mexican ingredients. You can try all the salsas by ordering the Tortilla Chips with Five House-made Salsas (HK$118). The salsas include Salsa Verde made with Mexican tomatillo, serrano chili, and coriander; Salsa Roja blended with árbol chili, ancho chili, and slow-roasted tomatoes; Pico de Gallo made with freshly chopped tomatoes, onions, serrano chili, and coriander; Salsa Pasilla with dried pasilla chili, slow-roasted tomatoes, and garlic; and Habanero Salsa, the spiciest option, made with marinated red onions, oregano, lime, and habanero chili.

Additionally, El Taquero offers other starters and small bites such as Tamales (HK$48), corn-based masa dough steamed in corn husks and topped with black beans, salsa verde, sour cream, cotija aged white cheese, onion, and coriander; and Elotes Preparados (HK$88), a popular street snack made with steamed white corn rubbed with mayonnaise, crumbled cheese, chili powder, and fresh lime.

Seafood enthusiasts can enjoy Tuna Tostadas (HK$62) with raw yellowfin tuna, chipotle mayo, serrano chili, and cucumber on a crispy toasted tortilla. They can also try Ostiones El Taquero (HK$78), freshly shucked oysters topped with pico de gallo and tequila, or Ceviche Punta de Mita (HK$188), a combination of lightly-poached tiger prawns, scallops, and octopus served with a tangy salsa bruja.

For those looking for heartier dishes to share, El Taquero offers options like Chicken Enchiladas (HK$168), corn tortillas stuffed with pulled chicken and cheese, topped with salsa verde, sour cream, and red onion; Tiger Prawns Al Ajillo (HK$248 for 3 pieces; HK$348 for 5 pieces), fresh tiger prawns cooked in guajillo sauce with chili, olive oil, garlic, and lime, served with warm tortillas; and Short Rib Mixiote (HK$288), slow-cooked boneless short ribs with cactus leaf, served with fresh tortillas, habanero salsa, onion, and coriander. Don’t forget to try the classic Churros (HK$68) served with Mexican chocolate sauce for dessert.

El Taquero’s lunch set menu is available from Monday to Friday, 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., starting at HK$148 per person for a two-course meal. The set includes options such as the Taco Set with a choice of three tacos, the Signature Al Pastor with spit-grilled pork served with various toppings and accompaniments, Al Pastor Torta (grilled pork sandwich), Chicken Enchiladas, and more. Guests can add HK$30 to enjoy made-to-order Churros with Mexican chocolate sauce or classic Flan, a sweet custard with caramel sauce.

The restaurant is located at Shops B-F G/F Yan King Court, 119 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, and can accommodate up to 45 guests. Reservations can be made by calling +852 2811 1998 or by following the restaurant on social media @eltaquerohk. Please note that all prices are subject to a 10% service charge.