El Camino Cantina

I’m a big fan of El Camino Cantina, so much so I became a member. They are literally around the corner from several of my clients (after work drinks!) and offer 10oz Margaritas at happy hour for the low cost of $ 7.50 Monday – Friday. Also on Thursdays they serve my favorite, fajitas all day for half price. Of course I am also on their mailing list. Who doesn’t want to know about Day of the Dead specials and to find out when the next Lotteria (Mexican bingo) is on? Needless to say I was thrilled when this arrived in my inbox.

AVAILABLE FROM FRIDAY 13TH SEPTEMBER!

El Camino’s newest food and beverage package ‘Tex-Mex Fiesta’ has arrived and we are offering you and your friends a three course share style Tex-Mex Fiesta menu that includes two hours of signature margaritas, beer and wine for $79pp!

Enjoy two hours of salty, sweet, signature margaritas – in four, fabulous flavours and served frozen or on the rocks; as well as house beer and wine. Tex-Mex Fiesta is available Friday, Saturday and Sunday at all El Camino Cantina venues.

As for the menu, it’s a total smorgasboard of deliciousness, tackle into buffalo wings served with blue cheese mayo and mango chilli sauce and loaded nachos topped with melted cheese, black beans, chilli con carne, smoked BBQ brisket, pico de gallo, sour cream and guacamole. For the main event, get ready to tuck into sizzling chargrilled chicken fajitas served with house-made tortillas, pico de gallo, sour cream, cheese, seasonal veggies, melted butter and sauteed onions followed by fresh, hot churros served with chocolate and caramel sauce.

Gather your friends for the ultimate fiesta!

The menu – could have used a wipe before I snapped this pic – oh well.

What they didn’t mention was those friends gathered should be 9 people or under (more on that later!) Needless to say I was in like Flynn and rounded up a posse of brunches finest Margarita connoisseurs. Ever since the craziness that was Carbon Mexican many of my friends have been eager to hear when and where the next bottomless margaritas would be. I don’t know about you dear Reader, but margaritas are extremely popular with my friends and when they are bottomless everyone gets excited.

Joseph sent me a text at 6 am that morning asking if it was ok to skip it as he was quite hungover. An hour later another text came through. Is there a non bottomless option with a different price point? In the end he decided to join us and work it out when we got there.

Pixie and I decided to catch the train in and met up on Platform 17. I probably should have walked, but after a big evening at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo in a box at ANZ stadium (thank you Rohan) I was a little dusty and in need of a 50 minute walk like I needed a hole in the head. We were a bit early and it was a gorgeous Spring Day so we took a quick stroll around the Rocks Markets. Wandering back we entered just before midday. Some of our party had already arrived and Kelly, Colin & Simone were already at the table.

Earlier in the week I had drinks with Pixie and asked him what he thought made The Bellevue Hotel so special. He said he thought it was because we all chatted in the courtyard first before heading to the table so everyone got to know each other just a little bit before sitting down. I spoke to someone at the El Camino the day before who had said that wouldn’t be a problem, we could start our bottomless at the bar and then move to our table. I probably should have gotten his name because when I arrived and discussed it with the staff I was told that was definitely not an option. Joseph asked about the non bottomless version and the waitress replied that the drinks were really quite good. That was all it took. Joseph and his liver were in! As I tried to gather my friends at the bar to mingle I was informed that no drinks would be forthcoming until we had taken our seats. Needless to say we quickly moved back to our table.

First things first Pix quickly popped to the loo and returned a minute later saying unlock your phone I need to take a pic in the toilet. Much to my surprise he came back with a fantastic pic of the urinals which looked like the Rolling Stones lips logo (seriously I did expect something a bit naughtier!) Much later I took a pic of this cool W hanging in front of the ladies lavatory – but it’s no where near as sexy as those urinals.

Let’s get this party started! It took half an hour for them to bring us our first drink.
Serve yourself – free chips and salsa

The numbers for brunch had fluctuated. We had started out as 10 then we were 12, then 14 and finally on the day we were back to 10. Kat and Ben were the last ones to arrive as they were stuck in traffic and Ben had bought along an unexpected guest that pushed our number to 11. When Ben went to introduce me to Neeman we yelled each other names and went in for a huge hug. I’ve known Neeman for about 10 years but hadn’t seen him in forever! Seriously the longer I am alive the smaller the world gets!

We were half an hour in and although we had helped ourselves to the free chips and salsa we still hadn’t been offered any any water or drinks. As everyone chatted animatedly I went in search of a waitress. Our waitress Pooja informed us there were 4 margarita options available + the margarita of the month. We could have them frozen or on the rocks. We could also have wine, beer or soft drink but no one was thinking of that when there were bottomless margaritas on offer. Our choices were Classic, Mango, Tropical, Strawberry and the Margarita of the month which was Peach served with a small lolly spider at the bottom of the glass. 11 people ordered drinks and our waitress Pooja didn’t write a thing down. She didn’t make one mistake the entire time we were there. I was incredibly impressed but she said she’d worked at El Camino for a year and it was no big deal, I beg to differ.

Our last minute ring in Neeman took the total of brunchers to 11

As we started to get the rhythm of drink ordering (a vital skill at a bottomless) the food started to arrive. First out 3 baskets of delicious buffalo wings with blue cheese mayo and mango chilli dipping sauce. I have always wondered why buffalo wings were called that when they were obviously chicken. At one stage I actually thought they were buffalo! Mr Wikipedia of course came to my rescue yet again, what did we do before the interweb?

There are several different claims about the invention of Buffalo wings. One of the claims is that Buffalo wings were first prepared at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York by Teressa Bellissimo, who owned the bar with husband Frank in 1964. At the time chicken wings were inexpensive and undesirable, primarily being used for stock or soup.

With them came 3 huge bowls of cheesy nachos covered in guacamole, BBQ beef brisket, black beans and a huge corn chip basket full of chilli con carne in the centre. To say the serves was generous would be an understatement and it reminded me of the huge serves that are so common in the US. 2 bowls probably would have been enough for the 11 of us. Seriously these plates were bigger than my head! Although they were delicious I felt like it such a waste when they took at least a 3rd of it away because we couldn’t finish it all.

HOLA! I love the decor at the El Camino.

Next up came these delicious chicken fajitas. They were served with small bowls of sour cream, chopped up fresh tomato and some grated cheese and while these small bowls might be enough for 1 or 2 people 3 bowls were not enough to share between 11. I’ve had the Fajitas at El Camino before and they generally come with beans, Mexican rice and a few more veggies than were seen on this plate, all of which were listed on the menu so I was a bit disappointed they never arrived.

Fajita! Chicken

The fajitas were of course served with fresh tortillas which I didn’t realise they make in house. Small balls of dough are fed through a machine by the lovely Manish. I’m unsure why he is behind perspex – maybe it has something to do with hygiene, but he was quite happy to show me how it was done.

License to Rock

As the drinks flowed so did the stories. At one stage I noticed Pixie in deep conversation with Kat talking about how the Tinder podcast might work now she finally had a microphone, maybe he could interview her? Kat also regaled us with more stories of the “The Gentleman” and “Mr Luck of the Irish” but I’ll let you use your imagination there! I heard Tempest and Mal telling Ben about how they met organizing flash mobs many years ago. Simone, Colin & Neeman chatted about weight loss, motorcycles, life the universe and everything. Of course one of the funniest stories of the day goes to Kelly when she told the ‘shroom story that had everyone in hysterics, but you really had to be there.

Unfortunately there are no pictures of the super delicious churros with caramel sauce. (Forgot the first rule of Food Blogging, the camera eats first!) Sadly there was no chocolate sauce as listed on the menu but the caramel was amazing.

Last call was made (of course I’d called it at half one and then realised we still had an hour left to go!) and credit cards were tossed at me. I thought I was pretty good considering how many margaritas I had consumed. I put them in piles of 1 person or 2 people. $ 79.00 per person $ 158.00 per couple but as we got to the final card there was still $ 86.90 outstanding! What? I thought I’d been pretty careful with everyones plastic card moola!

When I popped on my glasses and looked at the bill I noticed a 10% service change. Our table was 10 people or more. Apparently it was in the T&Cs when I booked (seriously who reads the bloody fine print?) It would have been great if it had been written somewhere else? Maybe the bottom of the menu? Or maybe the guy who was taking our payments might have mentioned it as we were paying him in $79 increments.

I’m not adverse to paying a service change but normally I would tell everyone in advance that the cost would be $ 88.00 up front. A 10% service fee sort of defeats the purpose of the “set price menu” which I would have thought would end up being less service. I was suffering bill shock. When I went to collect everyones cards again Pixie threw in $10 and Mal chucked the rest on his card. I love my friends.

Seriously does anyone read the T&Cs? That highlight was applied by me but maybe it should be highlighted by El Camino?

We usually tip if the service has been good. Sometimes on our cards, sometimes we throw in cash after we’ve paid with our plastic but this service charge left a sour taste in our mouths that could only be washed away by a round of complimentary Tequila shots. Seriously how cute are these square shot glasses? You should sell these guys! You’d make a fortune. Thank you Hygor.

We appreciated these gorgeous square shot glasses and the tequila that came in them. Thank you Hygor.

I ordered another round of margaritas with our gorgeous waitress Leticia who gave us a discount that also helped ease the pain and Pix covered that round and I covered (non discounted, should have ordered off Leticia, ouch!) the next. You totally earned that group hug Leticia.

Group hug with Leticia one of our gorgeous waitresses

I’d definitely recommend El Camino and while it was no Carbon Mexican no one was injured, broken, scraped or had crazy tales to tell the next day (I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing!)

PRO TIP: Keep your booking for 9 people of less. I certainly felt gypped at the end.

TEQUILA!

📍where – 18 Argyle St The Rocks

🌏 www – http://www.elcaminocantina.com.au/

🍸🍺🍷bottomless – margaritas, beer and wine

💵 how much – $79 for groups of 9 and under $86.90 for 10 + so don’t gather too many friends!

🌮🥙🍗 food – 3 course share style Tex mex feast

⌚️ how long – 2 hours

🗓 when – Friday, Saturday and Sunday

5 comments

  1. Another superb & honest write-up. Always excited when your reviews appear in my inbox.Your pictures are are terrific. Thanks for the recommendation. Oh, and don’t have too many friends. R

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Robbie. We had a lot of fun. I’ve wanted to try the flavoured margaritas for a while now but was never sure if they would be as good as the classic. The bill shock at the end did sour it a bit though…

      Like

  2. […] Joined by past partners in crime Mal & Tempest who I’d convinced to come for the optional “roady” at Bar Patrón a few weeks earlier and ended up covered in glitter post Portside, Kirsty, Kat and Rob a friend of Kats heretofore known as”The Gentleman” who you may have heard me mention in a previous blog. […]

    Like

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