el burro: its my favourite mexican in cape town

by Sam on April 5, 2011

el burro is fresh mex and authentic

I have eaten at El Burro about 4 times since they opened last year and I can honestly say its my favourite Mexican restaurant in Cape Town.  Its more fresh mex than tex mex which I love, and for anyone who has ever tried to make authentic Mexican cuisine in South Africa, you will know how challenging it is.  We simply do not have the specialised ingredients readily available here, which is why the owners of El Burro have to travel to Mexico to buy some their stuff.

the entrance, the wide balcony with comfy seats and the ceviche starter

Mexican food is simply not Mexican food without chipotle chillies, as one example, and they use this extensively at El Burro.

Its beautifully decorated, both funky and homely with the added benefit of being situated in a stunning old building with a large balcony right on the very central Greenpoint strip, directly opposite the stadium.

The service is warm and friendly and the waitresses are all kitted out in traditional Mexican outfits. I like this a lot.

I have sampled quite a number of the menu items, with some that I have loved more than others. I am now totally addicted to the pork enchiladas and I am hoping this addiction will not prevent me from ordering a few more dishes I have not yet tried.

My second favourite item on the menu is the fish taco.  Lightly battered fresh fish goujons served with all the traditional side accompaniments and I must say that I way prefer the flour tortillas to the corn tortillas. The fish ceviche is fresh and zesty and is an excellent starter along with the smoked jalapenos (but be warned these are very smokey and quite rich). All the mains come with freshly pickled red onions and fresh greens.

the side accompaniments, the legendary baked pork enchilada and the beef taco

My best way to eat Mexican food is to sample a variety of flavours and textures, so sharing is a really good option. El Burro recently hosted a Tweetup party to celebrate Donkey’s return, and we were served tasting portions of parts of the menu which was great.  Some of us are secretly hoping they may introduce a permanent tasting menu.

All the fun things about that evening can be read on Matts blog, and Ishay’s blog.

The other very cool part about El Burro is their vast selection of tequilas and amazing tequila cocktails which can only lead to happy times.

matt allison & neill anthony , matt kent (in the taco suit) and ishay and nic (one of the owners) with donkey

the quesadilla eaten by a friend and thoroughly enjoyed, the pork enchilada again and my favourite corner table on the balcony

El Burro, 81 Main Road, Greenpoint. (021) 433-2364.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Maureen Schlenk April 5, 2011 at 1:02 pm

I have discovered that I really do like mexican food – but this type of mexican food, not that poofy stuff that certain establishment pass off as mex product. also trying to locate chipotle chillies – cannot find them anywhere here in kzn

Sam April 5, 2011 at 1:07 pm

I know that is so not Mexican food. The only other way is to make your own, but then you cant get the ingredients. As far as I am aware there are no chipotle chillies in SA. I was given 3 as a gift recently, but almost too scared to use them. As I am very into Mexican food this will be an ongoing quest for me. I use pickled jalapenos and then add smoked chilli to try and emulate the chipotle.

Georgie April 5, 2011 at 1:27 pm

I am a huge fan of Mexican cuisine and so is my partner. On a recent visit back to Australia I found a supplier in Sydney who imports Chipotle chilli from Mexico – the real deal. So I quickly ordered so we could make a chipotle adobe which features in a number of recipes in this Mexican cookbook we use. We have since had another parcel of chillies sent from Australia because we cannot buy them here in South Africa.
So this time with our adobe running low, we made our own, we sourced jalapenos tried to dry them first (a very slow process) and in the end we smoked them in the Weber and it turned our pretty well.

Sam April 5, 2011 at 1:34 pm

Wow, the lengths we will go to get our hands on chipotle. I am going to make adobe sauce with my 3 and hope that will at least last through a few recipes. I so want to feature Mexican recipes on my blog, but without the available ingredients for people to buy this is very difficult. I do know a person who is very involved in Mexican food manufacturing, so watch this space as he may well start bringing in ingredients.

Wannabe Bond April 5, 2011 at 3:09 pm

At least you put up nice pics of me. Oh wait? I’m the one in the taco suit? Darn it!

Nice write up. The beef short rib and the pork shoulder and the chilorio pork and the pork quesadilla and the calamari and the… I like their food too.

Lori April 6, 2011 at 4:32 pm

How on earth did I miss this post?! Oh my word, WE ARE DEF going there asap!
How divinely tasty and delicious it all looks!
Very interesting re the jalepino/ chipotle sauce… worth a try methinks!

Matt Allison April 14, 2011 at 10:48 am

Lovely review Sam, all those tastes and aromas are flooding back, darn it, now I’m hungry!

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