Posted on : 03-12-2010 | By : Peter | In : Gladesville, Mexican
Tags: Eat, Gladesville, Mexican, restaurant, salsa, Sydney
I visited California a few years back and got my first real taste of real Mexican salsa - freshly made with warm, freshly baked corn chips on the side. Heaven. I have been on the search ever since for something which even remotely compares and I’ve now finally found it, though I will say it only just gets there. This may well have something to do with the fact that Pepino’s has two branches in Maine USA. My benchmark for rating mexican restaurants has always been the salsa, just as a cafe’s benchmark would be the coffee and a laksa’s true worth is embodied in its broth. If a Mexican restaurant can make a good salsa then all else should follow.
Sadly, Mexican food in Sydney can most accurately be described as ordinary at best. I’m not sure why this is or why somebody hasn’t already filled this gaping hole in Sydney’s culinary landscape, but I eagerly await the first player to do so. In the meantime Pepino’s (and a few other select places) will do. Pepino’s is located on busy Victoria Rd (181) in Gladesville and parking can be found in some of the side streets off Victoria Rd (though this can be difficult at times). The restaurant has a good reputation and is generally busy, so bookings are essential. They are fully licensed but you can also BYO with a small corkage fee. All dishes on the menu are reasonably priced with entrees around the $10 mark and mains sitting between $20-30. They also have a “meal” option where you can choose any two combinations for $20. The decor and ambience is quite nice and I was more than happy with the table service provided.
On my visit, I tried the enchilada and tostada meal with a taco as my complimentary choice. The salsa, taco and enchilada were all on the money but sadly the tostada was flavourless and forgettable. The portion size was good though and I was completely stuffed by the end of the meal. The salsa was definitely the highlight of the meal for me. I will also try one of the more adventurous options on my next visit like the prawn fajitas ($29), the crab enchilladas ($30.50) or the seafood chimichanga ($28.50). I have also recently been provided with a couple of recommendations for “authentic” Mexican where the dishes on the menu are not the typical Mexican dishes you’d expect. A Mexican restaurant that serves up something other than burritos, enchiladas and tostadas? You have my complete attention. Will sample and report.
In the meantime, check out Pepino’s and as always – enjoy!