Cuisine: Latin American, tapas
Location: Northbridge – Francis St
There’s many places in Perth I’ve yet to try but I’ve crossed another one off the list with a visit to Big Els which serve dishes of a Latin American fusion. Located in Northbridge on Francis St opposite Dragon Palace (I highly recommend a visit there for yum cha) the interior is quite dark but large and spacious. On the right hand side of the wall are a series of booths, hidden away like little rooms. To the immediate right is the bar and most of the front of house area is very open and has casual seating for relaxing in a casual atmosphere while you enjoy your alcoholic beverages. I noticed that on Zomato many comments were made in regard to poor service but I didn’t find any issue whatsoever in this area. We didn’t need to flag down staff, dishes were served at a nice pace, and staff came by to check on us or replace our water bottle. Most of the menu is designed for sharing so we ordered a bunch of dishes to start with, which turned out to be filling so no more were required.
Mexican Style Guajillo Popcorn Prawns $17
Dusted with guajillo salt and served with jalapeño tartare, with a side
First on the menu, these looked rather appealing so they went on the list of our orders. I really liked the popcorn prawns. They were coated in a light crumb, golden brown, nice and crunchy. The prawns are tender and there’s plenty of them, to be enjoyed in the lovely tartare sauce which has just the hint of chilli. The tostaditas are also yum, they’re a bit like a hybrid of a puffed up corn chip with puff pastry.
Quesadilla (6) $13
Traditional style pan-fried flour tortas crisped with arbol chillies, jalapeño and Jack cheese. Topped with Chipotle Mayonnaise and Garlic Aioli
The quesadillas were excellent, lovely thin crunchy pancake like pastry, tasty vegetable filling, chilli kicking sauce, oh so yum. Favourite of the night.
Brazilian Style Coxinha (3) $17
Brazilian chicken croquettes, soft interior with a mix of cumin chicken, and cream cheese mix, with a crispy external shell, served with chipotle cirtus salsa
I’d first seem coxhinas on the Comida do Sul food truck menu and decided to try them out. So when I saw them on the menu here, I was very keen to get some. They’re a good size, containing a lovely golden brown outer, however, it wasn’t that crunchy. The inside presented a lovely gooey filling which carries quite a chilli kick. Pretty yum.
3 Tacos $24
Handmade masa harina tortilla shell served with special coleslaw, mango jalapeño salsa, and jalapeño tartare
Crispy Chicken Tacos with spicy jalapeño relish, chipotle mayonnaise, & chipotle citrus salsa
I thought you can mix and match but were informed that you can’t. So you can order 2 for $17 or 3 for $24. We went with the crispy chicken and were presented with plenty of chicken though there isn’t much flavour on the chicken itself nor is it crispy. However, when combined with the guacomole, salsa and two sauces, each mouthful comes alive and is very delicious. There’s more than enough chicken so you can use the chicken to mop up the leftover sauce and salsa.
Peruvian Lamb Cutlets (4) $29
Peruvian style spice crusted lamb, topped with chipotle and citrus salsa together with Argentinian chimichurri. Served with a side of garlic bacon mash
Each cutlet carries plenty of meat which is really tender and succulent. I like the spice mix and the acidic chimichurri in particular. The creamy potato mash with herbs, garlic and bits of bacon make it a really tasty dish. I’m really full, but I could force myself to have some dessert
Crispy Mango Cheek $13
South American style crispy mango cheek served with caramelised coconut, caramelised popcorn, and ice cream
I had a small taste of this and it’s very interesting. It’s crunchy on the outside but soft and stewed in the inside like apple pie.
Chocolate Bar Chimichangas $14
Your choice of filling (Mars, Snickers, Bounty, Cherry Ripe, Crunchie, Kit Kat, Time Out, Boost) and accompanying ice cream, served with caramelised popcorn & caramelised coconut
This is a totally indulgent dessert. A crispy tortilla type pastry encasing a gooey chocolate bar filling (I chose Time Out) which is really delicious and a little bit rich. With the caramel it’s even better. The vanilla ice cream helps balance the two elements out. I liked it.
Big Els Food Review Summary
Verdict: Big Els presents a range of dishes to share amongst the table giving variety and a bit of a chilli kick amongst the delicious flavours presented. I enjoyed the crunchy popcorn prawns in jalapeño tinged tartare sauce before moving on to the quesadillas which were my favourite of the night. Two thin but crispy pancake like layers encased a delicious vegetable filling which was supplemented with gooey cheese and aioli to liven things up. The coxinhas didn’t have as crunchy an outer as I was expecting but the filling was delicious, soft and mellow before getting the spicy chilli kick which added oomph to the dish. The chicken was a little tasteless on it’s own but when rolled into the soft taco shell with guacamole, salsa, and 2 sauces, each mouthful came alive and was delicious. Lastly, the lamb cutlets presented plenty of tender succulent meat with a light spice and acidic chimmichurri to add plenty of flavour. For dessert I indulged in the chocolate bar chimichangas which have a chocolate bar filling encased by a tortilla type pastry thoroughly enjoyed with caramel sauce, vanilla ice cream, and more chocolate. An excellent dining experience with delicious flavoursome food, great service, and in a relaxing environment.
Big Els Restaurant Details
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Big Els Latin American Fusion - 26 Nov 2015,