I don’t know if you guys have noticed, but since turning to gorging ourselves on Mexican food either post town or not at all sober (thanks Zambrero), there has been a whirlwind of new Mexican places flood into Wellington. Obviously, these new places aren’t meant for town folk – although I’m sure one too many margaritas might get you there – but I can guarantee their food tastes just as good as it does when drunk and hungry. Recently, there’s a new kid on the block who is stepping up to the Mexicano challenge, and from my experience here, they’re doing a pretty flipping good job. Let’s talk about Los Banditos.
I knew about this place a little while before it was opened – as my stunning bartender friend Louis works there and absolutely KILLS the cocktail menu – but I could’t picture in my head what kind of establishment it would be like. From the outside, it follows in the footsteps of Lulu and Boom burger, with the bright neon signage, but on the inside is where Los Banditos really sets themselves apart – and I’m not just talking about the food! The interior is warm, cosy, bright, colourful and eye-catching all at once, and perfectly emulates the bold and eclectic South American towns and culture. As soon as we settled down into our comfy booth, we were instantly greeted by a cheerful waitress who was more than happy to let us know what’s poppin’ on the menu.
Knowing that our bartender friend was working, we had to test drive his Margarita skills, so I ordered their chai spiced margarita, and my partner ordered one of their frozen margaritas (which was only $12 – bargain!). Holy mamma has my friend got skill, because these bad boys tasted amazing and definitely did their job of getting me a little tipsy. We also got to try a few little tasters that aren’t yet on the menu, but once they are, I’ll let you guys know EXACTLY which drink they are so you can go and experience the flavours that we did! Enough about the drink, this is a food blog. So, let’s cut to the chase.
We were flipping hungry that night, so each ordered a veggie quesadilla and a big ol bowl of chips and salsa. I always get a little cautious when ordering chips and salsa because I never know how big the portion of chips are gonna be, and how authentic the salsa is gonna taste. Well, rest assured, Los Banditos have all bases covered and served us up a HUGE portion of multi-coloured corn chips and a fresh and tantalizing salsa to match. After only denting the pile of chips a little, our quesadillas were placed in front of us. You know when you actually drool a little at the sight of food? Yeah, I had to wipe my mouth. The aromas coming from both plates smelt so good that I almost forgot to take a photo and dug right in! After getting that Insta snap, I then proceeded to stuff my face. Their truffle and mushroom quesadilla sparked a fiesta of savoury, sweet, umami, and spicy flavours in my mouth, and not long after taking my first bite had I cleared the plate. Their broccolini quesadilla was also delicious and is the perfect plate of food for somebody who can’t get enough of their greens!
Okay, I’m going to stop rambling about the food and my mate Louis and give them my final CCL score. The ambiance was awesome, and really worked with the alty Welly vibe. The drinks were jaw-droppingly tasty, and nearly stole the spotlight from their food. But I have to give commendations to the chefs, who really went in on the flavours and made some westerner Mexican-favourite meals authentic and interesting. The only thing I could pull them up upon is the variety of Mexican meals they have, and maybe delving into some more traditional and unknown dishes could be cool – but it’s their very first menu, and I’m sure they’ve got some tasty trick up their sleeves for the future! A flipping awesome 8.8/10 for Los Banditos, but I know with time they’ll pump out some menu’s that’ll bump up that score.