Monday, May 25, 2015

Besos Latinos

A couple of weeks ago, a couple of foodies and I were lucky enough to be invited by Zomato to sample the food at Besos Latinos. I had visited a couple of times previously for the usual tacos and quesadillas but, tonight, Luis the owner had something else in store for us.




Originally from Latin America, Luis opened Besos Latinos with his wife who is usually on the counter. After a successful 5 years of running the restaurant, the pair are looking to add some traditional Latin American dishes on the menu and asked some of us along to try them out. 


Horchata
We were welcomed with a cup of Horchata which is a traditional Spanish drink that is made of ground rice and oats. Luis tells us that Horchata can be found everywhere on the streets of Latin America and that is very effective in countering the hot foods we will be served tonight. It is very refreshing and flavoured with a hint of vanilla and cinnamon. We all agree that Luis should start a business selling Horchata on the side.


Home made corn chips with Guacamole and Salsa
Next, we were served home made corn chips with guacamole and salsa. The guac wasn't unlike others I had tried before but the salsa was different -it was warm! Luis explained that, back home, they roast all the ingredients before mixing to bring out the sweetness and to add a smoky charred flavour. 

Ceviche
I forgot to ask what fish was used in the Ceviche but I did note that it was incredibly fresh. The sweet corn balanced out the savoury fish and the tangy lime. The crispy corn chip on top was a nice touch.


Deep Fried Empanadas and Flautas
My eyes widened as the plate of Mexican street food hit the table. The colours alone were enough to excite me. Luis explained that snacks like these were abundant in mexico, with old ladies on the street bringing out their cooking trolleys when the party goers were on their way home from the clubs.

The deep fried empanadas were filled with corn and courgette which made for quite a smooth filling. The guacamole and cheese topping was creamy and smooth, but I thought some heat would have gone well to counter this.


Flauta
My absolute favourite dish of the night had to be the Flautas. Also called a Taquito, these snacks consisted of a cheesy chicken filling wrapped up in a tortilla before being crisp-fried. It reminded me of a spring roll, but with a bigger ratio of crispy shell to filling which I loved.


Alambre with Corn Tortillas
I am reminded of a Chinese sizzling plate when our next dish arrives. I am told that Alambre is a popular Mexican dish of grilled beef, onions and bell peppers, often served with tortillas. The beef had a nice smoky, charred taste with a good kick of heat. The homemade corn tortillas were soft and were a good vessel for the beef.


Corn Tortilla with Spicy Chicken
Similar to the Alambre, the grilled chicken was served on a sizzling plate with onions and bell peppers. I found that the sauce was a bit too sweet for my liking and I would have appreciated the some heat which was so good in the previous dish.


Coffee Flan
The dainty flan was almost too pretty to eat. Served with crunchy caramel and a single blueberry, the coffee flan was very rich and smooth although a little thicker than I am used to. 


Rose con Leche
Arroz con Leche is another Latin American classic which is similar to a rice pudding. I really enjoyed the creamy texture of the pudding and found it very refreshing compared to the flan. The tangy jelly at the bottom was a lovely surprise. 

I am super excited for these new additions to the Besos Latinos menu and I can't wait to return for some of those Flautas! The dishes you've just read about, plus others, should be available from the start of June 2015. 

Besos Latinos is located in Elliot Stables, 39 Elliot Street, Auckland CBD.



Lucy dined as a guest of Zomato.