This landmark for authentic Mexican cuisine occupies the warm wooden upper floor of an old Victorian building overlooking the vibrant Green Point strip. You might have to wait at the bar for a table over a shot of aged 100% agave tequila.
Named after the mule, the logo of El Burro is ubiquitous – down to the cute big-eared cut-out mule with your name reserving your table. (Nice touch.) Signature starters entice with smoked jalapenos stuffed with creamed feta and a trio of ceviche (linefish, octopus or salmon) marinated in a piquant lime, chilli, ginger and coriander juice.
Some like it hot – and a variety of homemade chilli sauces at the table range from cholita (mild) to el nino and cabron (hot). The most authentic dishes are layered with the same earthy, roasted and smoky flavours offset by zesty, refreshing citrus dressings and subtle chili, coriander, ginger and garlic seasoning.
Creative salads come in unusual combinations (say roasted aubergine, cauliflower, tomato, goat’s cheese and walnut). Vegetarians are spoiled for choice with aubergine and butternut quesadillas, spinach and feta tortillas, or black bean, leek and chard tacos. The best way to make your way around the menu is to decide whether you want your tortilla to come to the table already assembled – or whether you want to stuff your own tortilla from the little pots of zingy salsa, red onion, chilli, guacamole, refried beans and sour cream brought to table. Next, decide on your main filling – chicken, fish, meat or vegetables. Portions are large and easily shared among two or more.
The hero mains are soft corn and wheat tortilla wraps served with free-range goat, pulled pork (not free-range) or beef brisket – or chicken mole poblano made with 32 herbs and spices, almonds, walnuts and couverture chocolate. Make sure you leave space for churros (warm donuts) dipped in a delicious chocolate sauce. A dinner at El Burro will take you all the way to Mexico and back at a fraction of the fare.
On offer are twenty kinds of tequila and mescal, a margarita menu (try the new rhubarb, mango and lime), a good selection of craft beer and cider, and a short list of wines by the glass and bottle. What more could a hombre ask for? If you’re driving, try the organic hot chocolate with spicy cinnamon and almonds, or a refreshing Mexican cold drink of horchata (rice, cinnamon, almonds, lime and sugar).
As quick on the draw as a Mexican gunfight, with attentive, friendly service from cowgirls attired in bright embroidered Mexican tunics. Mavericks who don’t know the difference between an enchilada, quesadilla, taco and tortilla should simply ask.
Loud and vibrant, buzzing with the after-work conversation of the younger, twenty- and thirty-something crowd and catchy Latino music. Mexican religious icons, gilded mirrors with angel wings and spiky cacti in rows of terracotta pots set the scene.
Make sure you book well ahead. It’s always packed to the rafters. If you want a quieter table, have a seat on the balcony or at the back of the two-tier restaurant.