The reputation of this Mexican grotto precedes any experience here, but for once in Hong Kong, it lives up to the hype. It is in this U-shaped underground Mexican chamber that four essential elements to partying intersect; tequila, a playlist with tracks that transport back to the 90s, Mexican street food like corn with manchego and Chilean sea bass tacos, and the fact that everyone dances on tables. Everyone.
Soup dujour takes on new meaning
The food at El Loco Gringo on point, and offers some of the most well executed Mexican street food in Hong Kong. The tacos are absolutely what you should order when you come here; from the chicken ($35) (with guacamole and caramelised onion) to the vegetarian Mexican beans taco ($55) with oozing manchego cheese, they're ALL wildly delicious. Having tried all, the sea bass taco ($55) takes the crown for most delicious, which ends up being a black cod-esque fish with coleslaw and sweet apricot enveloped in an earthy, soft taquito.
Chilean sea bass tacos
Blackened prawn taco with with pico de gallo
Slow cooked beef ribs with with pickled cabbage
Mexican mex beans with with manchego cheese
Also worthy of special mention are the ceviches, from the scallop and cucumber ($160), the chipotle octopus and watermelon ($110) or our favourite the button mushroom and oregano ($60), the aforementioned grilled corn ($35) with mayonnaise, manchego and chili and to finish the warm churros with cinnamon sugar and melted chocolate ($65) or the outrageously perfect combination of pecan pie with peanut butter ice cream ($65).
Chipotle octopus and watermelon
Button mushroom with oregano
Warm churros with melted chocolate
For the drinks, good ole tequila still reigns supreme. While whiskey is making a name for itself, and vermouth goes beyond the martini, this bar is where you come for that crafty agave elixir (those who cannot stomach the substance–we understand–the bartenders are most accomplished and can whip you up an alternative...just prepare to be offered tequila shots multiple times throughout the evening). A gentle tipple for the non-tequila inclined is the paloma; a tequila-based cocktail (though we get it with rum and it is still divine) prepared by mixing a spirit with grapefruit and served on the rocks with a lime wedge and rimmed with smoky paprika and salt. Divine.
And the staff, they’re delightful, a thoroughly pleasing diversion from the norm, and are often the first ones turning the tables into the dance floor (after ensuring everyone is wearing appropriate footwear to do so).
Mexican chef Carlos Rosales, executive chef of Missy Ho and El Loco Gringo Persi and restaurant manager Jonesy have outdone themselves with this one, providing good quality, immensely tasty food and drinks at reasonable prices (you can get out having consumed many tacos, ceviches and margaritas for around $450 a head) plus a party cave that is seriously fun. Don a sombrero and get set for a properly unruly yet delicious evening.
49 Bonham Road, Midlevels West
Tel. 2858 8833
Open 6:30 to 2:00am Monday to Saturday (kitchen closes at 10pm)