Los Banditos, Boldmere

I feel bad about this one. Really, really bad. In an ideal world this piece would start when the charming manager greeted us at the door and told us they were full, but would find us a table within twenty minutes, and finish fifteen minutes later when the equally charming waiter led us to our spot by the kitchen door and talked us through the menu. Straight away I could see why it is full despite being open only a few months. The interior is nicely kitted out Day of the Dead style, with murals on the wall of cartoon skulls, bright in colour. The large booths are inviting, the space well managed. And the front of house, they care about doing what they are doing, and they are doing it really well.

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So apologies to the well-kept man in the grey jumper if this was your place, but the food was nowhere near the same standard as the service. Mexican food in Birmingham continues to be poorly represented. Let me make it clear, it wasn’t all that bad. The quesadillas are passable, with the chilli con carne better than the chicken, though both need more cheese as a binding agent between tortilla and protein which come apart in the fingers. The potato bravos too are pretty good. Yes, the cubes of spud have been cooked too long, but the tomato sauce is laden with fiery chilli heat.

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A burrito is really nothing of the sort, consisting of just chicken, rice, and cheese. It is characterless, not hot like I asked for and with none of the black beans advertised. It has the foundations of a decent dish but no roof. It needs bite and texture, fresh acidity, and additional elements to stop the monotony. They should go visit a Tortilla for inspiration.

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The worst is yet to come. Pulled pork, as flabby and pale as a Brit abroad, piled heavily onto decent nacho’s made from fat triangular tortilla wedges. It is frankly inedible, a dry tasteless mass of grey pig, with ribbons of un-rendered fat that clog the throat like dental putty. The thin salsa is clearly a cheap variety which annoys me greatly considering that the hot sauces on the table are the rather excellent ones from Pip’s Sauces.

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It is cheap, with nearly every item that we have around a fiver, though they do main dishes that sit around the early teens which I am in no rush to try. They forget to add our drinks, we send the bill back and they return it with a genuine Thanks. Incidentally, a dear friend of mine who lives not too far happened to go the following evening. He had the same brilliant service, no burrito or pulled pork, and thought it to be an okay experience. So maybe we caught them on an off day. I’m crying out for good Mexican food to make it’s way to Birmingham. Los Banditos is not the answer, good service or otherwise.

4/10

 

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