“ Cuisine: Mexican / Restaurants / Cafes National / Location: 64 Thistle Street, Edinburgh „
Tex Mex II is a cosy wee Mexican restaurant situated in Thistle Street, one of the back streets of New Town in Edinburgh. I fell in love with this place in the summer of 2010, when we were there for my birthday. We've visited several times since then and our experience never fails to be enjoyable.
The restaurant itself is cheerful, quirky and low key. You come in from the grey stone streets into a restaurant with a loud purple and green colour scheme. This sounds rather brash and I suppose it is a matter of taste. I personally love the combination of purple and green. It reminds me of one of those Bassett sweets and, with the mood lighting, I find the whole environment very warm and uplifting.
As I've also suggested it really is quite a small little establishment. You really need to book ahead if you anticipate that it could be busy (Think Christmas, Valentines, Friday nights, etc). The size of the place is only really a problem when you find yourself in close proximity of a particularly obnoxious group of people. This has only really happened to us once when we were sitting next to a loud bunch of individuals, who obviously had no consideration for other diners. However, this was a one-off incident and I really wouldn't want them to move into a more spacious location. To upgrade to a bigger premises would just compromise the cosiness and charm of it all.
*~DRUNK AND DISORDERLY IN A MEXICAN RESTAURANT~*
Upon arriving at Tex Mex each table gets a portion of mildly spiced popcorn which in itself is tasty and more-ish (and I'm not even much of a fan of popcorn). It is one of the little touches within this restaurant which make it so unique.
Having given you your popcorn, they will then take your drink orders. Now if you are not driving and over the age of 18 then I highly recommend you try one of their frozen margaritas. These come in a variety of fruity flavours - strawberry, passion fruit, cherry and mango. Our group absolutely adore the mango flavoured margarita and habitually order a large jug of the stuff each time we go there. Actually, we tend to order more than just one jug of the stuff. They really do serve up the best margaritas I have ever had! - Deliciously fruity and sweet but deceptively alcoholic. Many margaritas later, I have to applaud the waiters for dealing with a bunch of inebriated individuals like ourselves. However, I can't say they did much good giving free tequila to the birthday girl. I'm surprised I wasn't on the floor!
Anyhow, if you do order yourself a margarita or two the portions of food are more than adequate to line your stomach with. The food is absolutely delicious and there is plenty to choose from amongst an array or starters, mains and desserts.
For starters, I absolutely adore the Chorizo Quesadilla which is crispy and juicy and filled with meat and cheese. However, when I am with friends we tend to get a plate or two of the Nachos Grande. This is an amazing dish which, on its own, is a meal in itself. The nachos are covered in an assortment of melted cheese, guacamole, salsa, sour cream, veggies and refried beans. If you go for the meat version you can also get a load of chicken on top too. I definitely recommend sharing this between three or four people. You share it between two and you're lucky if you have room for any mains.
If you do have room, there's a wonderful selection of main courses to choose from. I have a tendency to order Shredded Beef Chimichangas. This is a meal where you have a filling of choice and some vegetables encased in a flour tortilla which has been fried till golden. It comes with a little portion of flavoured rice, salad, sour cream, guacamole and salsa. This is a very filling meal so I would make sure you have the appetite for this one but it is ultimately very satisfying.
Now it's not very often that I do have something different here but the other meals I have had or have tried have also been very tasty. Last week when I was having lunch with my mum I decided to try one of the Tex Mex burgers. The burger was flame grilled and came with chips dusted with spices. Very nice! I also keep meaning to try one of their speciality dishes - their Flaming Fajitas. These always smell and look absolutely delicious. Your steak or chicken is brought out and set alight in tequila before your eyes. One of these days I'll finally get round to ordering one!
Now, whatever I have at Tex Mex, I always make sure I have some of their hot sauce - 'Fat Donny's Unique Hot Tex Mex Sauce.' I absolutely love this stuff and think that it's better than some similar supermarket brands. The sauce is hot but not too hot (They have much spicier condiments there for those who really want their taste buds blasted). However, if you have no tolerance of spicy food whatsoever, this is definitely one to avoid.
So after each main course (with its lashings of Fat Donny's hot sauce) I tend to be absolutely stuffed. This is definitely not the restaurant to go to if you're on a diet because the portion sizes are rather generous. However, I wouldn't say it was unhealthy because there's usually lots of vegetables and salad on the plate. The veggies, cooked or uncooked, are always delicious and the salad dressing really sets it off.
Should you wish to bring your meal to an unhealthy but fully satisfying end, they have a lovely selection of desserts. I usually tend to have the Double Chocolate Brownie. The brownie is always moist and chocolately and comes with beautiful French vanilla icecream which has a milky vanilla taste - better than any other vanilla icecream I have tried. They also tend to have pieces of cut strawberry and blueberries there. Last time they also trickled berry sauce over it so that you had a combination of fruit and chocolate. Absolutely mouth watering!
*~WHERE ARE MY STUBBLY AND ATTRACTIVE WAITERS?~*
For some reason, every time we go to Tex Mex, we are served by rather dashing and stubbly waiters. Admittedly our first few visits to Tex Mex led us to develop the habit of leaving flirty messages on the comment cards, appreciative of more than just the food. However, these waiters are not only aesthetically pleasing but usually very friendly and full of personality. One late night when we were the only people left, they even played some Johnny Cash for us and they are always obliging to help us celebrate our friend's birthdays. On my birthday this year, my flatmates made me a Pink Floyd 'The Wall' cake. Not only did the waiters bring the cake out but they even agreed to put on 'In the Flesh?' when the cake made its grand entrance. It was such a wonderful and unexpected surprise.
I absolutely love the staff at Tex Mex. They are welcoming and meals are brought out in good time, giving you plenty of time to digest your food but not leaving you hungry. When they do bring you out your bill, they bring out on a plate of jelly babies with it which really appeals to the child in me. This is yet another playful and unique little touch which this restaurant employs.
For beautiful food that is colourful as the décor, I find that Tex Mex is worth every penny. A three course meal with a margarita is about £20 to £25 per person, which I think is great for a restaurant which doesn't scrimp on ingredients, portion sizes or flavour.
The restaurant has definitely become popular amongst my friends and, indeed, their friends too. Surely I should be paid commission for the business I have brought to the place since I discovered it last June. However, having tried their delicious chimichangas, I don't think they need much help from me to promote their business.
Tex Mex 2 is quite simply one of my favourite restaurants in Edinburgh. I have tried a few Mexican restaurants in London, Edinburgh and other locations but none of them seem to have even come close to being as good as this one. So if you are visiting Scotland's capital, do try yourself a bit of haggis or Scottish cuisine but definitely stop by one night at Tex Mex 2 and you'll find yourself some of the best Mexican food in Edinburgh.
*~THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR AT TEX MEX 2~*
~ The Lunch Menu - I've had the lunch menu a couple of times and I definitely recommend it as it's highly affordable. The meal portions are slightly smaller than the dinner portions but still very filling.
~ Pick yourself up some of Fat Donny's Hot Sauce - This amazing stuff I spoke of earlier can actually be bought from the restaurant for £2.95. I keep meaning to pick up a bottle and definitely will do so in future.
~The Tex Mex website - Have a look at their excellent website. Here you will find an online booking system, videos, pictures and reviews. Unlike some places, the food actually looks as good when it's served up to you as it does on the website. Top marks for presentation there!
*~Thank you for reading my review : - ) x ~*
*~Also published on Ciao - September 2011~*