Wednesday, 15 December 2010

El Macho Liverpool - a sad loss!

Scousers and foodies- let us take a moment to remember a legend.

Vindaloo Kings and Queens, my Christmas was spoiled when I heard the news of a sad loss to Liverpool's restaurant scene. I was about to book a table for my beloved El Macho when, as I was googling the place, a series of blog posts popped up in the search reporting its closure. Why, El Macho, why have you done this to the foodies of the North West?

El Macho burst with a splash of vibrant colour onto the restaurant scene in the 80s but never dated, always looking fresh, original and one of a kind. Upon stepping into Machos, you forgot you were in Liverpool and thought you were in much warmer climes- green decor with faux bullet holes in the wall, fascinating artwork, Mexican tunes in the background hid the fact that the restaurant was situated in a grand Georgian terrace. The seating arrangements were unconventional- if you were lucky, you could bag one of the private rooms upstairs, perfect for romantic nights or a good old private gossip. The back of the restaurant was home to the famous conservatory; this seating area gave the impression you were actually outside with its paved floor and cacti collection.

I never knew of its existence until 2000, when I started Liverpool Uni and formed friendships with a funky crowd of foreign students. They introduced me to Machos, talking me through the menu, leaving me with a lasting impression. This was the best Mexican in Liverpool and no others came close. El Macho's tasted fresh and funky, all the others tasted as if the chef had popped down to Tesco's. Back in my student days, it was a pricey affair but I was pleased to note that on my last visit in 2009, the prices had stayed exactly the same so were no longer expensive, but had actually became a bargainous eaterie! The staff were mainly foreign students, the mish mash of accents giving Macho's it's unique holiday vibe.

My favourite Macho experience always involved their fantastic Nachos which no other establishment can replicate and a huge steaming platter of veggie chimichangas complete with refried beans. The coffee hit the spot and was rich and potent, rounding the meal off nicely.

I'm welling up with tears here at the fact that I will never visit Macho's again. Why have you closed, old friend? My memories of you are fond, joyous ones. Is it due to that evil L***rpool O*e, that ugly concrete jungle filled with even uglier 'restaurants' like N**do's and Z**zi's? Is it due to people becoming so lazy, they can't be bothered venturing into classier, more interesting quarters of the city centre? Are you all blinded by bright lights and boring chains, can you no longer think for yourselves? Or, El Macho, have you made enough money and don't need to work anymore and have sold up? Well, I wish you well if that is the case.

So, in 2010 I have said goodbye to Lewis's, Buca di Bacco, Balti House, El Macho...what next? Hopefully one of the bland chains!

Thanks for the memories you Macho man!

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Hi Vindaloo Kings and Queens!