This diminutive taqueria serves up tasty food in an elegant space. New York-born owner Jennifer Fernandez combines her Dominican heritage with techniques learnt at cooking classes in Mexico, and a touch of New York-influence to make a menu that is broadly Latin American, rather than authentic Mexican.
Kick off with the creamy guacamole, which is served with deliciously crunchy, freshly fried nachos. The empanadas are gorgeous – try the ropa vieja version, a traditional Cuban dish with unctuous braised beef inside – or the rich queso version oozing mozzarella and sautéed onions.
Taco bowls are a good way to contain all the fillings. Think barbecue pulled pork with apple beetroot slaw. Tacos are small, but come two per portion.
It’s essential that you finish with churros, which are beautifully crisp on the outside, and soft and chocolate-filled on the inside.
Pair your tacos with a tequila-based cocktail – think grapefruit-coco with fresh grapefruit juice, coconut liqueur and lime; or a hibiscus-rose with rosewater, hibiscus, lime and orange bitters. There’s also a short wine list with a grand total of two options by the glass.
White marble, wood and copper make for a beautiful, serene interior. Tables overlooking Sea Point’s buzzing Regent Road make a good spot for tapas and a cocktail as the sun sets.
Attentive and speedy.
They also do breakfast. Think cinnamon tostadas with mascarpone and berry coulis or a chorizo scramble.
Eat Out reviewers dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Click here to read our editorial policy.
The short menu is Latin American in a broad sense. Ceviche from Peru, Mexican pico de gallo and Argentine chimichurri all make an appearance, but the result is, by and large, perfectly delicious. Tacos are small, so it’s a good idea to get things going with a couple of starters.
We kick off with a serviceable ceviche made with white fish, lime, red onions, peppers, avo and small pieces of pineapple, but it’s the ‘straight-up guacamole’ that follows that has us squabbling over the home-fried nacho chips and the last scrapings of creamy guac. There are also some interesting-sounding salads (watermelon, kale, mint and pumpkins seeds; and fennel, rocket, orange and olives), but we’ve got tacos to eat.
The tacos are made on site with corn (so they’re gluten-free, if that’s a concern) and remind me of some glorious tacos I ate in New York at a little Mexican spot that made somebody’s best NY taco list at the time. The pollo comes with grilled chicken, pico de gallo and radishes – and is tasty, and happily also free-range. I do find myself wishing I’d saved some guac to smear onto them, though. I make do with the house sauce instead for some added juiciness. The carne taco features steak, a chimichurri sauce and chopped white onions – also good, though the steak is slightly tough.
For pud, we try the taco sundae: a soft corn taco with a ball of ice cream inside, drizzled with sweet sauces. It’s alright, but I’m not convinced. The winner, however, and the dish that succeeds in breaking my January resolutions in one fell swoop, is the glorious churros. They’re beautifully crisp and golden on the outside, and as we bite into them, a well of chocolate sauce bursts inside. I am thoroughly absorbed and unable to speak for the five minutes it takes us to polish off the plate and lick my fingers, and face, clean. (You can also get them with the sauce served on the side if you hate mess, fun, and all the other good things in life.)
For now, Fuego is waiting on its liquor licence, but promise all sorts of exciting signature cocktails and tequilas when it does arrive. For now, make do with a soft drink from the usual list of suspects or an S.Pellegrino sparkling fruit juice.
Eager and speedy.
Copper, white marble and minty green make for a serene, beautiful interior. It’s a small restaurant, and a large wood-panelled bar takes up much of the space, so there’s an intimate feeling, even when it’s busy. Bar seats at the shop-front make a great spot for people-watching on Regent Road.
They do brunch until 2pm, and I’ll be back to try the canela – cinnamon tostada with mascarpone and berry coulis – for sure. (Assuming that it’s unacceptable to eat churros for breakfast, of course.)
Eat Out reviewers dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.
The food at Fuego is packed with Latin American flavour. Start with the tangy ceviche and guacamole before moving onto mains. Tacos are small but absolutely delicious - the pulled pork one is a must. I will definitely be back!