Thursday, 10 September 2015

La Mexicana @ Bangsar

After an absolutely mind-blowing totally awesome authentic Spanish meal at Ohla Tapas & Cocktails recently, my friend and I thought that if we could love Spanish food that much, we could love Mexican too. 
So, feeling a bit more adventurous, we were game to try some Mexican food which The Yum List recommended as authentic Mexican cuisine.  We ventured to their newly opened outlet, La Mexicana @ Bangsar, for dinner one evening (their first outpost is at Ampang's The Terrace @ Hock Choon).

Stepping into the restaurant, you'll be greeted with a burst of bright contrasting colours of yellow, orange, bright pink and blue from the walls (featuring intricate heart-shaped mirrors) to the bar, floor tiles, hand-painted tables and chairs and even the napkins which give the place a happy and vibrant feel.

Settling down, we took our time to browse through the menu as we were in unfamiliar territory.  As I'm not a fan of cheese, we basically steered clear of dishes that have cheese in them.  It's usual to start off a meal here with "antojitos" (little cravings) and this is probably one of the best known snacks in any Mexican restaurant....the Guacamole "La Mexicana" @ RM25 served with homemade tortilla chips.  The tortilla chips were slightly thick, very crispy with a good aroma and taste of corn.

Guacamole is traditionally made with mashing ripe avocados with sea salt (by hand) in a mortar and pestle (in fact, it was served in a cute little mortar).  I think this one had some tomatoes, onions (maybe garlic) and lime juice added.  The guacamole was creamy and luscious...and utterly addictive when eaten with the crispy corn chips.  You can taste the freshness of the guacamole and know that it was freshly made to order....we thoroughly enjoyed this!

Our next little craving for sharing was the Ceviche "Acapulco" @ RM25 served with the same crispy corn chips.  Ceviche is basically a dish of raw fish (or seafood) marinated in lime or lemon juice and it's the citrus juices that 'cook' the raw fish, so freshness of the produce will be key.

The cubes of marinated fish, with chopped tomatoes, onions, coriander and olives, were fresh and firm in a relish that had the right amount of fresh and tangy flavours.  Just scoop a spoonful of the ceviche onto a crispy corn chip and put that into your was zesty, it was crunchy, it was simply delicious!

For our mains, we stayed with a more familiar route and what could be more Mexican than the traditional Mexican dish of tacos which is made up of a corn or wheat tortilla folded or rolled with a filling.  Tacos are probably the most eaten food in Mexico as they're widely available in Mexico from street vendors to restaurants.  La Mexicana offers a few varieties of filling such as beef, pork, chicken, seafood, vegetables and cheese.

I read somewhere that if pork taco is available on the menu, one should not miss that and, so, we went with an order of Tacos "Campechanos" @ RM24 which came with three handmade corn tortillas stuffed with pork "Carnitas" a La Mexicana served with "Chicharron" (pork crackling) and "Salsa Roja" (or red sauce usually made with tomatoes, chilli peppers, onion, garlic and coriander).

The pork crackling that I envisaged turned out to be quite different from the one served.  The pork crackling in these pork tacos looked like minced floss and wasn't very crispy either.  I don't know if it's the shredded pork itself or something in the shredded pork that didn't sit well with us.  Let's just say we took one bite.....and that was it!  And let's just say I'll leave it at that!
Our other order of Tacos "Ensenada" @ RM24 featuring two wheat tortilla tacos filled with tempura style fish and coleslaw served with 'Salsa Verde' (or green sauce made with tomatillos that look a bit similar to green tomatoes) turned out a lot better. 

The tempura fried fish was crispy on the outside and soft and flaky on the inside with a creamy coleslaw.  A squeeze of lime and some salsa verde on it and you're good to go.  What could go wrong with simple fried fish and coleslaw, right?  It was 'familiar' and alright in terms of taste but nothing 'wow' about it.

We finished with a traditional Spanish dessert of Churros @ RM20 served with a dipping sauce of Cajeta (burnt milk caramel).  These are supposed to be deep fried dough pastry treats.

But these turned out to be pretty dense although they were crispy.  My first impression when I saw the dish was how much a darker shade of brown the churros were compared to the nicely golden ones I saw on The Yum List's blog.

And what made it worse was that the churros were so heavily dusted with cinnamon sugar it was difficult to eat.  Luckily there were only three pieces...and, luckily, we spilled one of our drinks on, we didn't need to finish them.  I can't believe I just said that coz I actually love churros!

Our drinks for the evening were these non-alcoholic drinks.

The Horchata @ RM12 is a traditional rice milk based drink served with a sprinkle of cinnamon.  I wasn't in love with this drink though my friend found it alright.

The Agua de Jamaica also @ RM12 which is actually fresh roselle (hibiscus) flower juice.  This beverage has a slightly tart, berry-like flavour and sweetened with sugar.  If I had to describe it in one would be....Ribena!  It does taste freakishly similar to Ribena, only better and made fresh, of course.

And here's a peek at the bar, I think you know where I'm going with this....

We can't very well walk out of a Mexican restaurant without trying at least one margarita, right?  It's the quintessential drink of Mexico consisting of tequila, triple sec (which may be reduced or eliminated entirely when sweeter fruit juices are added) and lime juice served with salt on the rim of the glass.

Passion Fruit Margarita @ RM35
This Passion Fruit Magarita was freaking awesome.  It was citrusy in taste more than it was intoxicating, much like a refreshing thirst quencher.  This was probably due to the passion fruit juice added into the mix.  This was the drink we spilled on the churros....we were happy....for the churros.....but sad...for the margarita T_T 
The margarita was so good, we just had to have another.  I didn't know that I would love it so much coz my previous memory of having margarita (only once) was not memorable.  The tequila was so strong, I had to bite on a wedge of lime to cut out the taste (that one was served 'straight up' or without ice unlike the ones here that were served shaken with ice and 'on the rocks').  So, you can imagine how pleasantly surprised I was to find that margaritas can be so darn delicious.
Dragon Fruit Margarita @ RM35
The Dragon Fruit Margarita was just as amazing (just that I preferred the passion fruit one a wee bit more).  I think their margaritas taste so good because their fruit mixes are made fresh daily with the perfect balance of tequila to juice.

La Mexicana also offers the classic, tamarind and roselle variations and even a version of frozen margarita (blended with ice).  So, there's bound to be one that'll fulfill your fancy....I think I can down all five!! ;D

My Personal Opinion

The food I wasn't loving as much but the reviews on this place are mostly positive, so don't take my word for it as this was my first try of authentic Mexican food...what do I know!  Try it out for yourselves coz I'm sure they stay true to authentic Mexican flavours for those who love this's just not for me.....maybe it doesn't suit my Malaysian palate or maybe I don't know how to appreciate Mexican food.

Having said that, I did enjoy the guacamole and ceviche...those were absolutely great.  And what's even greater....the margaritas!!  Couldn't you tell?  Since I devoted 1/3 of my photos just to the margaritas....kekeke! ;)  And they're served in the cutest looking glass (ever!) that resembles an inverted sombrero.

Well, they say it's the best margarita in town...and I can't say I agree (coz I've not drank enough margaritas to say that..heehee) but it certainly was a darn good one.  I definitely wouldn't mind coming back for more margaritas!  I'm licking my lips just thinking about them.  Now you know where to go if you have a margarita urge....cheers everyone!

La Mexicana
No 12 Jalan Telawi 5
Bangsar Baru
59100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2201 7155


  1. That's one cuisine that I want to try. In fact I asked my brother some time ago if he knew of any authentic Mexican restaurant. I know for sure I will love the Guacamole with tortilla chips. Can't go wrong with that. The Ceviche, maybe.

    So you did not finish the Tacos Campechanos due to the funny taste? What a pity! I would most likely go for beef if I chose this. The churros look like a disaster hah..hah...I remember them (from El Cerdo) to be lighter in color and you can clearly see the patterns (don't know how to call it) on the churros. Maybe there was an "accident" in the kitchen hah..hah...

    The Passion Fruit Magarita looks good. Must KIV that one. I just hope it doesn't knock me out because I don't tolerate alcohol very well.

    Well, with the Tacos Campechanos and Churros not quite up to expectations and the Tacos Ensenada just so-so, I guess this outing was not so satisfactory. You only enjoyed the appetizers and magarita (which you spilled hah..hah...).

    1. If you want to try Mexican cuisine, I think this one is probably the closest to authentic. It may not suit many of our palates but you should try it at least once to see if you like it. If you enjoy fresh citrus flavours, you might like ceviche too. As for the patterns on the churros, we call those ridges piped from a star-shaped nozzle.

  2. Have not had Mexican for a long long time, not since Chilis' at Mid Valley...and Taco Bill in Singapore. HRC also has Tex-Mex stuff on their menu, Nachos and all those - also have not been there for years now! When in KL, too many things to eat, too little time...and not all that easy to get around... Hint! Hint! :D

    1. Yeah, the Tex-Mex cuisine I heard is quite different from the authentic Mexican fare served here.

  3. Dragon fruit margarita?? Mexican with a local twist? I'm trying to imagine the taste and conclude that I probably would not like it hahaha!

    I had the same thoughts when I saw the churros. Why so dark? Over-fried?? It is very difficult to mess up something like churros, so I guess it was really that bad huh..

    1. Yeah, perhaps the churros were over-fried this time. On the contrary, I think you'll find the margaritas rather enjoyable, like I did, if you like the taste of fruit juices coz the ones here taste more fruity than intoxicating. I can't take it if the liquor taste is too harsh.

  4. How come you did not go to the Ampang outlet since it is closer to your place? The best Mexican food that I have eaten was in Edinburgh and I can't find any here that matches it. Where are the refried beans? Apart from guacamole, I believe Frijoles Refritos (refried beans) signifie authentic Mexican food. Have you eaten Mexican refried beans before? I like to eat them, very tasty and I ate them in Edinburgh, uh uh uh, not where you expect to find good Mexican food.

    I have not eaten churros before but they look like sweet yau char kuai to me. Too bad the tacos pork were not what you expected. Don't think I will eat here unless I really want to try Mexican food.

    1. I thought this one might look nicer since it's new. Yes, you can find refried beans all over the menu but I only like certain types of beans + I was afraid it might be too authentic to like, so I omitted ordering those.

      You can leave churros out from your list of food to try because you will definitely not like it as they're coated in cinnamon sugar and will be too sweet for your taste buds.

  5. What a thorough review! I loved reading your perspective on the food. Authentic Mexican is often not what many people have in their minds. Many often think of Tex Mex or Cali Mex, which is equally delicious but a little different to the extensive cuisine found across the country itself. Glad you loved the Margaritas. Shame the other dishes didn't quite live up to expectations. Now that they have two outlets I wonder if they're feeling stretched with the management of both.

    1. Now that you mentioned it, I did not see the husband and wife team here (not even one of them in the kitchen). I'm not sure if that could have made a difference. But the margaritas, they were a different story all together....I have a new found joy in drinking margaritas! ;)

  6. Not really fancy Tex-Mex food, hehe :P
    Why don't like cinnamon sugar? I love it especially on my pretzel :P

    1. I do like cinnamon sugar but not when it's too heavily dusted.
      I believe this is more authentic Mexican and not Tex-Mex :p

  7. Not impressed with the food here. Sorry. LOL

    1. Hmmm, so you didn't like the food...that's interesting.

  8. That indeed didn't look like pork cracklings

    1. Right on! Pork crackling shavings? Minced pork crackling? :D :D


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