The little corner of Jabriya known as Block 1a is turning into a fantastic place to check out when you’re on the lookout for somewhere to hang out and get some great food. The franchises are there of course, but what we’re more interested in at bazaar are the home-grown places, and En Mexico is the latest addition to this pleasing trend.
Situated just off the crazy fourth ring road, you’ll find solace from the traffic in this cosy little Mexican joint, which is fast gaining a reputation as the go-to place for Mexican cuisine in Kuwait.
Red painted walls, adorned with portraits and paintings of Mexican scenes and people like Frida Kahlo, create an atmosphere that is warm and inviting – especially appreciated considering the torrential rainfall that accompanied our visit! These red walls evoke feelings of Mexican fieriness that is matched in the food, and enthusiasm of the owner. Fresh herbs hang in baskets from the wall next to the obligatory Tabasco sauce and other condiments. All this paired with the limited seating (twenty five people would be a squeeze) makes this the antithesis of a franchise. Just the way I like it.
There is a definite authenticity to En Mexico. This is a place set up by someone who is highly passionate about the food he serves. That impassioned individual is Abdullah Al Najdi, who set up En Mexico after a visit to New York. He discovered that the best places to eat were the ones off the beaten track, sometimes with no signs – places that build reputation by word-of-mouth fuelled by top-notch food. But don’t worry, there’s a big sign above the door because, as we all know, it’s hard enough to find places in Kuwait already. But what else Abdullah took from the trip was that it’s better to keep things simple. The menu at En Mexico is small, and this is a good thing, everything on it is made from scratch. Abdullah talked about his menu with such verve that my mouth was watering before we even sat down.
The Homemade Chips & Salsa quickly sated my appetite, though and The Queso Fundido, a cheese fondue with fire-roasted chilies, served with more of those homemade tortilla chips delighted, and set the tone for what was to follow. The subtle warmth of the roasted chilies mixed with the cheese delivered a great flavor. The two chip starters would be great ordered for the table as everybody peruses the menu. Or you could always dive right in and opt for the Portobello Quesadilla – a roasted Portobello and melted Gouda explosion folded in a grilled flour tortilla served with sour cream. If you’re looking for something new then the Jicama & Mango Salad is a solid choice. Jicama is a sweet vegetable that tastes a little like an apple and pairs well with the mango. I preferred the Grilled Chicken Taco Salad and its melange of flavors and textures, brought together with a little fire by way of a jalapeño vinaigrette.
What I like about Mexican food is ordering a selection of dishes that the whole table can share. If you do this, be warned, the two sides offered at En Mexico may end up being fought over. The Eloté is corn on the cob Mexican-street style that looks stunning when served and tastes just as good – crunchy yet tender. The Jalapeño Corn Bread though is on a whole other level. Topped with honey butter, and somewhere between sweet and savory, this stuff is seriously tasty! Load these sides on the table with a few of the main dishes and your group is good to go. This was hard for me because I’d heard whispers on the internet about the Braised Beef Brisket Tacos at En Mexico. So while I enjoyed the Grilled Chicken Burrito and Grilled Fish Tacos thoroughly, I was thinking only of melt-in-your-mouth beef as I was eating them. This is the kind of item on a menu I simply cannot ignore and I already know I’ll be ordering it every single time I visit En Mexico. The brisket is slow-cooked for hours until it’s falling apart, served up with caramelized onions and cheese in fresh corn tortillas and accompanied by rice and homemade frijoles (refried beans). It’s worth going to En Mexico for this dish alone.
Just when I thought I may have to roll to the car, dessert was swiftly delivered to the table. And what a dessert! Churros, for the uninitiated, are sort of like Mexican donuts sticks. En Mexico serves them freshly made and still warm with a spicy chocolate dipping sauce. These things are fluffy and light on the inside and crispy on the outside and coated with cinnamon sugar. Dipping these crunchy pieces of heaven into the dark and spicy chocolate sauce was the perfect end to an outstanding dining experience at En Mexico.
It’s all about authentic food made from the highest quality ingredients and attention to detail at En Mexico. Founder and owner Abdullah Al Najdi is in no rush to expand. He prefers to let things grow organically, focusing on keeping his small menu as perfect as possible and letting people discover this small delight on their own terms, much like he did with those places in New York.