Inspired by taco shops in Mexico, El Burro’s sibling restaurant Taqueria has quickly become a favourite Kloof Nek haunt. You’ll find that most nights this tiny eatery is packed, with hungry diners adding their names to the waiting list. “Taquerias are so intrinsic to Mexican food culture, it is such a part of everyday life. The taquerias there are a lot more informal, but the food is very similar,” explains Nic Haarhof, co-owner.
I arrived on a Thursday to find it completely full, but luckily I had friends who arrived early enough to secure a booth (tip number one). Taqueria has a minimal yet chic décor complete with booths, hanging plants and yellow stools. Owners Rene Jellis, Nic, Hugo and Sasha Berolsky know a thing or two about decorating trendy spots, as you can see from their other ventures: El Burro, Royale Eatery, Cabrito and Neighbourhood (to name a few). “When we design spaces, we create ones that we would personally want to go to and where we’d bring our friends,” explains Nic.
Food glorious food
There are no menus, but you’ll find everything you need to know on the wall above the counter. Some of the items you’ll recognise from El Burro, others you won’t. Mains are one per portion, but it means you can pick a few samples to really experience the menu. Our waitress recommended we order three portions, but you can easily get away with four (top tip number two) and still have space for some churros (deep fried, coated in crunchy sugar with a glorious choc dipping sauce) for dessert.
What to choose
I sampled the chilorio pork taco (twice cooked, with chilli and garlic), steak quesadilla (free-range rib-eye with chilli salsa, queso fresco and fresh avo) and the chicken taco (chilli, garlic, lime, coriander and avo). All three were standouts and I was tempted to order seconds of each. As Nic says, “Anyone who knows El Burro and how we [the owners] operate will know that when we open up a venture the integrity, freshness and quality of the food comes through in each dish we serve.”
A last word about Taqueria? “We do not do crispy hard-shell tacos. We encourage all our patrons to come with an open mind – this is not a conventional South African restaurant. So come in and relax and don’t worry about what society tells you a restaurant should be.”
Taste for yourself:
El Burro Taqueria
021 422 3554
Open from 12pm till late, Monday to Saturday.
Words: Charis Le Riche
Images: Richard Kepple Smith