>> April 14, 2013
Earlier this week, I was fortunate enough to be invited to visit Merivale's newly permanent El Loco at Slip Inn for a Blogger's Fiesta dinner. Of course I jumped at the opportunity - who can resist anything with Fiesta in the title?
I have not visited the Slip Inn in a very long time. Thinking of my previous visits during my uni days (years ago!), I remember having an occasional pub meal in the courtyard on weeknights, Chinese Laundry once or twice on Saturday nights and sometimes dropping by for a quiet drink with friends. After a while, I didn't really have any reason to visit because there wasn't anything new and the only distinctive thing I could say about it was that it was where Princess Mary met her Prince Frederik!
It has changed a lot since then. Now that El Loco has taken up residence, there are pretty lights strung over the courtyard, bright colours splashed everywhere and a general flair of Mexican fun.
The dinner started at 6pm and it was a great excuse to leave work early. Usually I don't finish work until late and I am always taken aback by how many people are out and about at this hour. Oh the envy! The Slip Inn was no different. Even though it was relatively early, most of the tables in the courtyard were already filled with people kicking back and starting their night. I guess Sydneysiders know when they're onto a good thing!
I also wanted to arrive on time so that I could get the most out of meeting some other food bloggers. As it turns out, I met one within seconds of walking into the courtyard - the very lovely JENisHUNGRY tapped me and asked if I was also a food blogger - turns out we were both lost trying to find the others!
We manged to find our way to the table and were greeted with lots and lots of drinks...
I had a Pink Cuco and the slushy texture was fun. The taste reminded me a bit of ginger ale. I thought the fresh Passionfruit Batida was cute served with the fresh passionfruit on top - and also fun to scoop it out the flesh for an additional zing!
An army of different tacos came out for us to try. My favourite was the Baja Fish with chipotle mayo served with salsa verde on a lettuce leaf. All of the tacos can be substituted for lettuce leaf instead of a tortilla and I actually prefer the lettuce leaf. The lettuce is crisp, adds another flavour and reminds me of an Asian style sang choy bow.
A word of warning - I think it is humanely impossible to eat tacos without spilling juices and filling everywhere. Make sure that you have napkins and forks handy!
The piping hot french fries served with chipotle dipping sauce made a good addition to the feast. As did the corn chips with fresh guacamole and salsa. You really can't go wrong with these in a group setting.
Grilled corn always tastes so good! This was one of my favourite dishes of the night. I love corn used in salads, especially when it's served with a creamy dressing. I would order this again all for myself.
I didn't expect to see a ceviche on the menu and it seemed a bit out of place but I wasn't complaining. I can eat raw fish any day and the small mountain of greenery on top made me feel healthy :)
One of the differences between El Loco at Slip Inn and the one at Surry Hills is that this venue serves more mains. We were told that it was to cater to the pub crowd and I think it's a great idea. The mains were ginormous and I can see how a hungry CBD worker could fill up on one of these.
The BBQ chicken is served charred but the meat was surprisingly still soft and tasted like it had been marinated for a while. In case you can't tell, that is literally like half a chicken on the plate. A generous serving for sure and you can go to town like Fred Flintstone on it!
The only thing that seemed Mexican with the steak was the serving of pico de gallo on the side. I probably wouldn't order this myself but I could see how it would appeal to the customers who are used to the old Slip Inn pub food.
I ordered the fish as my main and it was delicious. The fish was well cooked and fell apart with a prod of the fork. The salsa verde was a nice touch and I also enjoyed the mexican rice as a side - come to think of it, I liked every part of my main.
By this stage, I was feeling stuffed to the brim. But there was still dessert!
Hot hot hot! These were liable to burn your fingers off, they were so hot and fresh from the kitchen. Coated in sugar and soft on the inside, the churros were a nice way to finish the meal.
The whole night was so much fun and I should also mention that the DJ played the best music too! It was really nice to meet the others and put some faces to names (of blogs).
I'm glad that they revamped the Slip Inn and I can see how even more people are going to flock here - myself included.
The Food Book dined as a guest of SBPR.