Like many great imported culinary concepts, Fiesta Tex-Mex seems to have misplaced its personality on the way over from America. Similar to its German-inspired neighbour, the downstairs taquería just plain misses the point.
The décor is what you would expect from a place with as trite a name as Fiesta. From our table in the completely deserted dining room, we begin to overlook the name as the blue-tin plates and rustic stucco walls offer a hint of authenticity, if only in the sort of ironic tone you might expect from people who know what they are doing. But then the iPad shows up and things go downhill. The electronic ordering system, which was likely implemented to avoid issues with language, has quite the opposite effect; inconsistent labeling renders the non-Chinese reader more or less helpless.
For us, tortilla chips and salsa are like water atTex-Mex joints; we don’t always want them, but man are we distraught when we can’t have them. Such is the case at Fiesta. Luckily, a cast-iron crock of chile con queso and tortilla chips(48RMB) arrives to distract us from our rage sweat.The thick mixture of meat,
bean and cheese is actually very good and the chips are hot from the fryer. We are deprived of our side of guacamole (48RMB) as, apparently, the avocado delivery didn’t come in. It’s a blasphemous affront that’s only compounded by the restaurant being a stone’s throw from both April Gourmetand and JennyLou’s. We ease the pain with a sip from a signature cocktail, the ‘Tex-Mex Mexijito’ (48RMB), but the saccharine, minty mash-up tastes more like a tequila- soaked air-freshener.
The rest of the meal goes much better. The shrimp fajita (98RMB) billows happily to the table. The platter of sautéed onions and bell peppers sports a healthy number of grilled shrimp. Wrapped in a house-made tortilla, the tender crustaceans and caramelised veggies are a glimmer of hope, and go down well with a spoonful of spicy sweet salsa. The beef burrito (98RMB) is also very good. The beef is peppery and moist, but the portion is a tad small for the pricetag.
Fiesta definitely has some strengths, but it really misses the point of Tex-Mex. In place of cheap, flavorful drinking food, what we found was overpriced, stuffy and aloof. Well intentioned, perhaps, but hardly worth it. NG