Topolabamba

Mexican food is always one of my first choices of cuisines to go for & when I heard a new one was opening, I obviously was looking forward to trying it. I hadn’t heard of the name Topolabamba before so assumed it wasn’t a chain & was even more surprised to find out it was owned by the company who also own Glasgow favourites such as Di Maggios, Pinto & Cafe Andaluz. Before I go on with this post, I will state that we were invited along to the pre-launch night after I posted information about the restaurant opening in an earlier post.

Mexican DecorMexican Decor

On first impressions, I was taken with the decor which contained a lot of wooden wall panels dotted with authentic looking Mexican bric-a-brac. Now I love skulls & was taken with all of the sugar skulls they had dotted around the restaurant. My most favourite part of the decor was, surprisingly, in the toilets which are covered with Mexican skull themed wallpaper. Unfortunately it was custom made for the restaurant so won’t be able to get my hands on some!!

WallpaperWallpaper

Topolabamba is another restaurant centred around sharing food with lots of small plates. The menu is split into 3 sections – bar bites, street food & bigger plates. The drinks are a mix of margaritas & mexican beers along with some imported soft drinks.

Mexican Decor

When seated, we were asked if we wanted any bar bites whilst waiting for others to arrive. Since we had literally just sat down, we suggested that the waitress bring anything. From the menu we had crazy corn & nachos with both guacamole & salsa. I don’t really know what was so “crazy” about the corn since it was 3 bits of corn on the cob with some crumbled cheese over it. Nothing really jumped out. The guacamole was fantastic, with big chunks of fresh avocado & a nice kick to it. The salsas that they have range from mild to quite spicy on the scale, however we could not find much difference between the house & the spiciest salsa which was a bit disappointing.

Crazy CornNachos & Salsa

The street food section contains typical Mexican dishes such as taquitos, tacos & fajitas whereas the bigger plates have more variation with stuffed peppers, coca cola short stack ribs, burritos & baked fish. I was really pleased to see cactus on the menu in a few dishes as I’d only come across it in the Wahaca restaurants in London. As we were at a sampling night, we were encouraged to order a few dishes between us to start then order more once we had finished.

From the street food section, we sampled dishes including crab ceviche tostadas (the crab was fresh but lost in the lemon that had been added), barbacoa beef tacos (nice strong flavour from the meat but accompanied nicely with a blend of spices) & our favourite dish from that section – fish tacos which were in a light batter & accompanied by a smoky & spicy aioli.

Crab Ceviche Fish Tacos

Ever since I’d seen the menu I’d been really intrigued to try the coca cola short stack rib. However, I was quite disappointed by the dish which consisted on one large beef rib with a little sauce on the side. The meat was tender & fell off the bone but the lack of sauce meant there was no edge to it & it was at the end of the day, just a bit of beef. Other dishes we sampled went down a lot better:

  • Stuffed pepper – it contained crumbly cheese, spicy cactus, potatoes & chipolte peppers which gave it a good spice rating but you could taste the individual elements
  • Salt & Pepper Ancho Chilli Squid – this was my favourite dish filled with fresh baby squid (including some tentacles) & accompanied by such a delicious ancho chilli aioli that added so much flavour
  • Chargrilled flat iron steak with peanut mole – The steak was pink in the middle & had been seasoned with some spices. The peanut mole was so full of flavour with the spicy chocolate richness & texture & slightly salty taste of the peanuts
  • Queso Fundido – a melted cheese dish containing chorizo & roasted peppers which was a bit sickly in my opinion, with the cheese overpowering the meat & pepper.

Stuffed PeppersBarbacoa TacosSalt & Pepper Ancho Chilli Squid

I sampled a few of the margaritas they had including the house & mango versions. I have to say, that for being affiliated with Jose Curevo, the margaritas were slightly lacking in any oomph or taste. The mango version was a bit better than the house but I think that was due to it being a more fruity flavour. The Mexican beers went down well with A, with a porter, IPA & pale ale being on offer. I also liked them but only for the amazing labels!!! For dessert I sampled some of the churros which didn’t contain cinnamon sugar as you would normally expect & had been slightly overcooked since they had lost their doughy texture. I did eat some as the dark chocolate sauce that came with them was so moreish. I accompanied it with a pear & chocolate margarita which was quite sweet but a nice flavour from the traditional lime margarita.

MargaritaPear & Chocolate MargaritaMexican IPA

Churros

Overall, I quite enjoyed Topolabamba but there are clearly some areas that need to be worked on before I could class it as in the same category as Bibi’s.

Sombreros

Advertisements

New Restaurant: Topolabamba

I recently received a press release about the opening of a new Mexican restaurant – Topolabamba. As you may have guessed from previous blogs, I am a big fan of Mexican food so this was music to my ears. With Juan Chihuahua & Las Iguanas popping up in Glasgow over the past year, there has been a definite shift towards Latin American food, which in my opinion is a welcomed relief from the American based dishes.

Topolabamba is situated on St Vincent Street (near Bread Meats Bread) & will open its doors next Wednesday (16 July). The restaurant boats a varied gluten free & vegetarian friendly menu as well as street food favourites such as Chargrilled Steak Tacos & some more regional dishes such as Coca Cola Mexican Short Stack Ribs (definitely one I want to try to see if it works!). They also boast a healthy tequila and mezcal selection with over 30 available as well as Mexican craft beers and, of course, my favourite cocktail, margaritas!

Since the restaurant is opening next week, they are offering places to one of their VIP Opening nights. In true social media style, they are asking members of the public to take a selfie outside the building & use the hashtag #toposelfie when posting the image. The winners will be announced tomorrow so you better be quick!

They are also offering the change to wine an all-inclusive holiday for 2 to Mexico. To enter, just follow this link & enter your details to be in with a chance!

I’m definitely excited about a new Mexican place opening but more excited about another place to go to find the best margarita in Glasgow!!

The Raven

The Raven opened its doors last week & we were lucky enough to go along for a preview before it opened. The Raven is the newest offering from Maclay Inn (of Dram!, Munros & The Hope fame), in the site of the infamous Bay Horse pub site on renfield street.

image

The bar itself is quite airy, with a large bar to the left when you walk in. They have an extensive range of craft beers which is obvious from the moment you enter. There is an open kitchen to the back right & upstairs is another large area. One thing I did like about the bar was that they had stripped back one of the walls so it is plain brick as it was meant to be.

image

When asked to go along, the blurb emphasised their focus on smoked, slow cooked food. To be honest, I feel this is totally overdone & Glasgow needs a new direction for food. However, I’m pleased to say that The Raven showed me that some places can still do American style food well. Before I go on, we did get craft beer tasters to accompany each dish but as I’m not a beer drinker, I’ve left this out as I couldn’t comment on the matching.

image

First up was some nachos, plain & beef chilli. I’ll be honest, I didn’t really like them. The nachos were quite large & a weird consistency. There was also a lack of cheese & only a handful of jalapenos – not one I would order again. Next up was the smoked platter which consists of half a slow cooked chicken, pulled pork & a rack of ribs accompanied by corn on the cob & red cabbage slaw. The platter is huge & can easily feed 2-3 people. At £17 as well, it’s a bargain! The chicken was really tender & fell off the bone, as did the ribs. My favourite was pulled pork which I’ve admitted before isn’t my favourite. This pork was juicy & had a Smokey, bbq flavour that was quite moreish. To accompany the platter, every table has a range of sauces from hot sauce to bbq to honey & mustard. Hot sauce on the table is also a thumbs up from me!

image

image

We then tasted some of the sliders. I had half of a cheeseburger which was a decent burger but not one to write home about. What did get my eye was the Mac n cheese slider. Yes, macaroni in a burger! It was a deep fried macaroni patty in a bun with the usual suspects. It was quite messy, falling apart as soon as I bit into it but the Mac n cheese was tasty but not too creamy. Definitely a heart attack in a slider!

image

image

We also tried the fries & sweet potato fries, with the sweet potato ones winning my vote as they were crispy yet fluffy & very moreish. Wings were also on offer in bbq, super hot & plain (who orders plain wings?!). We were far too stuffed from the food we’d already tried so I only tried a super hot wing which aren’t on the menu & were just a test for the previews. I’d have to say I’m glad they aren’t because they need some working on the taste. Normally you’d associate hot wings with a buffalo toe sauce but these were more of a Moroccan harrissa type taste which was a bit strange.

image

image

I can definitely see me popping back into The Raven since the smoked platter was so reasonable for how much food you get. And a glass of bubbles for under £4 is always tempting!