31 Gongyi Xiang / Fangjia Hutong / call +132 6406 7593 to gain entry and to make reservations
/ 7.30pm-late Wed-Sun
Epitomising the phrase ‘he came, he saw, he conquered’, it was the absence of truly standout Mexican cuisine in the Chinese capital that inspired French-trained, Taiwanese-American chef Kin Hong to test his tacos (to rave reviews) during 2011 Design Week. He then journeyed to the land of the tortilla to master his Mexican craft before returning, recipes in hand, to open Taco Bar last December to the delight of foodies across the city. Designed by Kupa Studios, the creatives behind Apothecary and Susu Vietnamese, Taco Bar’s red brick surrounds, wooden pillars and chalkboard walls (adorned with colourful drawings and praise from past patrons) sit within a kitschy hutong hideout with unmarked doors and a number that must be called to gain entry.
Once inside, opt for Hong’s mix-yourself white wine sangria or the La Paloma cocktail with Agavales tequila, lime and grapefruit, while waiters whet your appetite with basket after basket of totopos (tortilla chips) ready to dip in tin-fulls of salsa, frijoles negeros (cinnamon-infused beans) and peppered sweetcorn. Then come the tacos, like the sumptuous carnitas with roasted pork shoulder and pickled red onion, the deep-fried tilapia fish-stuffed pescado with tomato, cilantro and lime, and housemade-chorizo tacos with potato and onion. And for vegetarians, scrambled egg and potato variations with cilantro and lime, or hongos filled to the crispy brim with tempura mushrooms, aioli and garlic-lime coleslaw. Que rico!