A Mexican restaurant with the atmosphere of Blackpool!
If there's one thing that I miss most about my home town Liverpool (well, actually there are many but I'll save that for another blog), it is the fabulous Mexican restaurant El Macho. I was hoping to recreate the experience here in Edinburgh and discovered an interesting-looking basement bar advertising 'loud food and spicy music'. That is exactly the kind of mix every discerning vindaloo queen likes.
I got there about 7.30 and the atmosphere was pleasant; good, cheesy music (not Mexican), friendly staff and the kind of decor that tricks you into thinking you are outside in sunnier climes. The menu seemed a bit pricy but I cast my mind back to other Mexicans I had tried and thought 'ooh this means the portions will be huge!'
What a disappointment. The fajitas were done in the style of a can't-be-bothered singleton who lives alone and just has themselves to please. Definitely not the type of food you would impress people with. It was like the Ryanair of restaurants- it looks cheap, you think it is going to be cheap but you end up hideously out of pocket. The portion size wasn't overwhelming and used the cheapest ingredients possible- chips,lettuce,supermarket wraps, a couple of peppers, cheese....Gordon Ramsay would've used his famous expletive!
Things perked up for dessert though, sumptuous Belgian waffles with ice cream, pecan pie, potent coffee... this selection passed my rigorous testing.
I was disgusted at the drinks prices, for a downmarket gaff in a basement I thought it was a cheek that they were a similar price to the chic locations on George Street! That is as far as the George Street similarities go though. The toilets are dire. The drinks are basically a glass of ice and it smells like a Bacardi Breezer splattered council estate nightspot. Actually, I discovered that El B's actually markets itself as a club rather than a restaurant, which is why I gave it another go on a works' night out.
From a clubbers point of view, El B is a lively fun place for boogying the night away as they play a good mix of chart, r and b and classics from the 70s, 80s and 90s. However, the staff had a different attitude than to when I ate there. The male bar staff were aggressive, miserable and downright rude, preferring to serve different nationalities before others. If you wanted a soft drink, they are not interested in you- by the way, the drinks are more like slush puppies as their main ingredient is ice. My work colleagues ordered a round of JD and coke, turned their backs and -whoosh- their half-full glasses disappeared mysteriously! One of my female colleagues asked what had happened to the drinks and she got roared at by a barman in Spanglish! What sort of a man is that who roars at young girls and steals their drinks? It's a half-a-man as I call them, too much of a p***y to fight with other men, so has to pick on the girls! Talking of picking on girls, El B's last advertisement made me think of 1970s time travel. Apparently now, all their female staff have been kitted out in new revealing uniforms and are currently recruiting for staff 'who must look good'. Wow, Germaine Greer would LOVE it here!
I'd suggest anyone wanting to go here for a boogie to take a large bag full of drinks as you shouldn't give these undeserving clowns your money.
I have resigned El Barrio's to my 'never again' collection along with its nearby neighbours Tippoo Sahib and Passage to India. Should I ever want to see scantily-clad girls (lol) I will head to the Pubic Triangle and should I ever have a craving for fake Mexican food, I will head to Asda. However, if Gordon Ramsay and Germaine Greer fancy a night out with me filled with gossip and critique, then I will change my mind!