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Business News/ Mint-lounge / Features/  Lounge review | Arriba, Delhi
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Lounge review | Arriba, Delhi

Despite the shots of tequila on offer, the food at this new Mexican eatery lacks the big, bold flavours of the cuisine

The Arriba Mexican Grill & Tequileria.Premium
The Arriba Mexican Grill & Tequileria.

On a hot Delhi day, we walked into the bright and summery Arriba and were greeted by wall-to-wall bottles of 15 assorted brands of tequila. We chose to sit indoors in the smaller air-conditioned area, with its uneven adobe-like walls. The pillars are painted in orange, red and navy Aztec geometric patterns and the cushioned spaces kept up the theme, though the music was distinctly Spanish.

The good stuff

The wide menu is nicely signposted with sombreros (chef’s specials), red chillies (spicy hot) and cacti (vegetarian). We started with a generous bowl of Chilled Coconut and Coriander Soup ( 325), light and flavoured with fresh coconut milk, chilli and coriander. My vegetarian dining companion proclaimed it the best dish of the day. The Smoked Pork & Burnt Pineapple Tortas ( 575) had three pork belly sliders with smoked habanero, grilled pineapple and salsa on the side. I couldn’t get enough of this flavour-packed combination. The Beetroot Ceviche ( 375) was a pretty plate of finely sliced beetroot, with lime-marinated, chopped fennel and feta. The delicately flavoured dish got some much needed crunch from walnuts.

We enjoyed the large Arriba Molcajete ( 1,495) with Chorizo and Pork Belly. Molcajete is the Spanish word for a large stone bowl and in this bowl came a wonderful, generous assortment of chorizo fat-marinated, braised pork belly, braised courgettes, mushroom, roasted green peppers, jalapeños and grated cheese. On the side was a spread of assorted salsa, sour cream, coriander, refried beans, cheese and lime in shot glasses, along with tortillas: We had to build the filling ourselves and I liked the fact that I could adjust the flavouring to my taste.

We tried the Spiced Sweet Potato, Cottage Cheese & Zucchini Skewers ( 375), which came covered in a mild Guajillo (Mexican chilli) sauce. It was semi-sweet and, for those who don’t like very spicy food, it worked well.

During the meal, we were offered jalapeño-infused tequila shots that were delicious. The jalapeño had seeped into the Pablina tequila, giving it an even bigger kick. The Churros With Chocolate Duo Dip ( 475) were crisp and the sauces—dark and chilli—nicely flavoured.

The not-so-good

While we enjoyed some of the dishes, especially the soup, the flavours overall were underwhelming—especially if you are expecting the dishes to stay true to the Mexican aesthetic of big, bold flavours. I also had a problem with the delicate plating—case in point, the assorted salsa that came in little glasses with little spoons. Mexican food is hearty and best had family-style.

The Fresh Guacamole.
View Full Image
The Fresh Guacamole.

The Halibut & Mango Ceviche ( 675) came in a glass with tortilla chips. The fish was chewy and the mango, again, was too sweet. I couldn’t finish it.

We tried the Trio Of Tamales ( 475) for dessert. A mistake. The corn-based, steamed, crêpe-shaped dish came in three flavours: rum-and-raisin, guava-and-goat cheese and salted caramel toffee. All of them bitter and barely edible. The Tequila Lime Cheesecake ( 475) was a flat creamy white triangle of nothing. The piped avocado cream on top added to its blandness and excessively buttery feel.

While Arriba has a huge cocktail menu, the flavours fell short each time. I barely sipped mine. I would visit just for the tequila shots. The staff didn’t appear very familiar with the menu but they were certainly polite and friendly.

Talk plastic

A meal for four—a soup, four small plates, two mains, three desserts and four cocktails—cost 12,132.

Arriba Mexican Grill and Tequileria, The Village Restaurant Complex, Asiad Village, August Kranti Marg (26497706). From 7pm-1am.

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Published: 27 May 2016, 06:01 PM IST
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