According to Mexican tradition, today the 2nd November is All Souls Day. The third day of the Day of the Dead Festival that we have all come to love here in the UK, where we’ve adopted this Mexican tradition and culture and celebrate with marigolds, bright flowers, sugar skulls and a lot of food and drink. So I think it’s quite apt that Diablo Loco, Edinburgh’s latest Bar Mexicano officially launches this evening.
Situated on South Clerk Street, this was a bar in its previous life and has undergone quite a transformation.
The bar is the most striking, decorated with bright flowers, plenty of skull paraphernalia and lots of tequila line the shelves. It’s pretty.
There is plenty of seating upstairs and downstairs including window booths and large comfy ‘U’ shaped booths.
We took a seat at the window booth, to make the most of the natural light and tucked into some very good hearty filling Mexican fare. (ps that’s water in the Tequila bottle!).
We ordered some tequila (for the photo opportunity only). Delivered in three shot glasses to the table. Course Salt. Tequila. Lime.
The menu is cut up into sections – Little Cravings, Tacos, Mains, Sides, Desserts and Lunch & Takeaways.
In the Little Cravings sections you’ll find Chicharron and Guacamole. Crispy Mexican pork puffs, guacamole, pomegranate and sheep’s milk cheese. (photo above).
The pork crackling are little bite sized puffs. Super crunchy and quite spicy but piled high with the delicious thick chunky crushed avocado is fabulous; and the jewels of pomegranate add those little pops of sweetness. A happy snacking dish that you could order on the side along with your main meal or over drinks.
Now this is also available from the Little Cravings section and believe me it’s massive but what a showstopper! This is the Queso Flameado. A tequila flamed cheese fondue with chorizo ragout and corn chips. Unfortunately ours didn’t light correctly so the tequila didn’t quite burn off but we just mixed it all in with the warm, creamy cheese and tucked in.
I was a little apprehensive about this dish as I thought it might be too spicy hot, but it wasn’t. The chunks of chorizo were delicious scooped up onto a crunchy thin corn chip. There were large chilli rings in the fondue leaving you with the choice to include these in your cheesy scoop if you opted for that chilli hit!
For me, this was the dish of the lunch hour – the Pork Belly Croquettes with Habanero aioli, pomegranate and crispy cabbage.
Why do they always only give the good stuff in sets of three??!! I want at least 10 of these croquettes as a mains. Soft tender sweet pulled pork belly fried till crispy. Simply perfect.
It was time to move onto another section on the menu as we had lingered too long in the Little Cravings section. Onto Tacos we go…
First up we tried the Cochinita Pork Pibil with pulled pork shoulder, pickled red onion, radish and coriander.
The two tacos are loaded with pulled pork and the red onion and the radish add not only the crunch but they are also a cool texture and provide the contrast against the soft sweet pulled pork.
Next up was the Yucatan-style Chicken taco with pineapple, lime and hababero salsa, coriander, crema and pomegranate. This was nice but it lacked punch – be it sweet, sour or salty it just wasn’t there.
I found that I wanted to reach for the salt to season it up a bit. The pineapple was evident and the chicken was cooked well. A wee tweak on the seasoning front and this would be another winning dish!
There are other delights on the menu such as the Chargrilled Tuna Steak with chimichurri, roast sweet peppers, corn salsa and smashed avocado. Sounds like a dish I would definitely order. They also have gluten free, vegan and vegetarian options such as the Naked Burrito which is caramelised sweet potato with pulled chilli jackfruit, corn salsa, fiery slaw, green rice, pomegranate and avocado.
As its a Mexican Bar we couldn’t leave without sampling their something from their drinks menu. Currently the Coconut and Lemongrass Margarita is on special and you’ll find the Classic Margarita on the menu too along with Smoked Paprika Margaritas and Pineapple & Cardamon Margaritas.
Behind that bar you’ll find these too – the Disparos (shots) one of which sounds quite lethal Shotgun 2, a Gunpowder tea and fruit infused El Jimador!
Barry, the wonderful bartender decided to treat us to something that not only tasted great but also provided that Instagram moment! And he certainly delivered.
This wee skull holds the El Diablo Cocktail of El Jimador, lime, ginger beer and hibiscus agave. It has a hint of heat. Perfect for getting that party started!
And this pineapple looking cocktail is meant to look like a pineapple. This is the Pina Pinea Party Punch (try saying that after two!) with Bacardi, pineapple, orange, lime and Prosecco. Ideal if you prefer something sweeter.
Diablo Loco is a welcome addition to the South Side of Edinburgh and no doubt will become a hot spot with students but I do urge you to give it a go and support it. The food is good and diverse and I’d definitely say one of the best places that I have been to for pulled pork.
The staff are friendly and attentive and the bar is a real contender on the cocktail front.
Diablo Loco, 74-78 South Clerk Street, Edinburgh Tel : 0131 667 2701 www.diabloloco.co.uk
My Spoon Award : Silver Award 8/10