One of these days I hope to visit Mexico...and Texas, until then I will have to make do with the numerous restaurants in town. One of the newcomers is Topolabambas which is owned by the same people as Di Maggios and is celebrating its first birthday this weekend (with various deals - see here for details). According to the website the food is not Tex-Mex but authentic Mexican, based on dishes from the regions of Oaxaca, Chiapas, Chihuahua and Topolabampo.
I visited mid-week on a very busy evening but I was seated as soon as I entered the colourful quirky interior.
I explained I was in a hurry and recommendations were made with me opting for a main course only. My drink arrived almost instantly...
Bergaritas - passion fruit & coconut (£4.95)
It was cold and refreshing with that noticeable tequila taste - like Desperadoes but fruitier and less "fake" tasting.
And not far behind my drink was the seafood stuffed chimichanga (£9.95 2 chilli rating).
It arrived so quickly that in unorthodox fashion I then ordered a starter! Inside this flour tortilla parcel was seafood taluca (whatever that is - I didn't enquire), shrimp, crab, scallops, beans, rice and cheese in a chipotle sauce. It merited a 2-chilli listing on the menu and my tongue rated it as having a reasonable amount of heat but not fiery. The filling had a definite crab tang, lots of shrimp and the occasional scallop bit.
Classic Queso Fundido - Jack cheese fondue with garlicky roasted peppers & chorizo with corn tortilla chips (£4.95)
This arrived while I still munching the Chimichanga! The cheese had a thin skin and was cheesy but it could've been laughing cow for all I knew rather than the "homemade artisan style jack cheese" mentioned on the menu. Does "artisan" jack cheese even exist? In saying that cheap cheese is a guilty pleasure of mine and so on I munched...I quite enjoyed the crispy salty corn chips, which were like if kettle chips did nachos and not the usual Doritos type that you often get.
Mexican chocolate cup (£4.95 1 chilli rating)
As I'd received 2 courses so quickly I ended up staying for pudding and this also came out ridiculously fast...were all the staff on speed?! Did I pick the right dishes for a hurry?! Or is the prep and microwave-use just very efficient? Anyway back to dessert - this was nothing too fancy, just a milky chocolate mousse with bubbly aero-like top and smooth interior, oh and some chilli, served in a coffee cup. It's always entertaining when you have 3 courses and the dish that seems to have the most chilli heat is pudding!
My meal cost £24.80 and I was more than full, in fact I was totally stuffed and shouldn't have eaten the chocolate cup especially as I jumped on one of the Next Bikes at Central station to get to my next destination!
The staff were very good, they made recommendations and at my request everything was very quick with 3 courses gobbled up in about 45 minutes - they do have, or did have a 45 minute lunch deal where you got your money back if it wasn't served quick enough so they must be used to this? But I can't verify the authenticity of any of the food but it was all pretty good. I would come back, hopefully for the work's Christmas night out. Toilets downstairs and clean with Día de Muertos wallpaper. I didn't notice if there was a disabled toilet.
+ staff were very efficient
+ well located central location for busses, trains and NextBike cycles
+ quirky colourful vibe - probably good for a night out
+ best nachos I've had for ages
+ extra kudos to staff for bringing out food lightning fast when I said I was in a hurry
- but if food came out so quickly should I be concerned about freshness/cut corners?