Best tacos in Sunderland? Review of Mexico 70 as its red glow returns to High Street West
Of all the restaurants I missed during Lockdown, none left a taco-shaped hole in my life as much as Mexico 70.
And I’m not the only one, it seems. Its tacos, tequilas and tunes are back on High Street West, but unlike pre-Covid times when it was drop in only, it’s best to book ahead to secure your table at this local favourite as slots fill up fast.
We visited on a Wednesday evening and with West End shows back on at the Empire, the signage up at the new £14m auditorium and new additions such as Street Bar and Victoria’s Loft full of life, it was great to see this corner of the city centre alive and kicking once more.
Step inside Mexico 70, however, and you feel like you’ve stepped outside of Wearside and into an underground Soho bar.
A neon red cross, low lighting, exposed brick walls, day of the dead-themed decor and a carefully-curated playlist gives Mexico 70 a unique subterranean atmosphere.
Then there’s the food itself which is, personally, one of my favourite menus in the city – and I’ve eaten a lot of them.
There’s some pre-Covid classics on there such as the reliably-excellent Korean pork belly taco: a sinfully good slab of meat with slaw, guacamole, fresh apple and sriracha hot sauce. I think I’ve ordered it on every Mexico 70 visit and it’s never let me down yet.
There’s also some new additions to get stuck into including crayfish fries, which were a revelation. I’ve worked my way through plenty of loaded fries in my time, but never ones topped with crayfish, parmesan cheese and paprika.
They come loaded with shellfish which worked well with the gooey cheese and the kick of paprika and I couldn’t get enough of them.
The pork carnitas tacos are also bang on the money: meat that falls apart with the lightest of touches atop fresh, soft tortillas that are perfect for parcelling up the goods.
This is casual dining done perfectly where knives and forks, though supplied, are discouraged – it’s all finger licking stuff.
Compared to other trendy taco places, prices are really fair at around £4 quid a taco, with three per person recommended. There’s a range of filthy fries, which are a meal in themself, all priced £6. Vegans are also better catered for than at most places with a good choice of options, such as Baja tofu taco and seitan shawarma.
As well as running the excellent Ship Isis pub, the team at Mexico 70 is behind the transformation of the former storage shelter in Seaburn Promenade into a seafood restaurant.
Building work is forging ahead at the structure which is due to open in the coming months as part of a wave of investment taking place as part of the Seafront Regeneration Scheme.
If Mexico 70 is what can be achieved with food inspired by the other side of the world, it will be interesting indeed to see what they can do with ingredients reeled in right on their doorstep.
*Mexico 70 is open from 5pm Tuesday to Friday and from 1pm on Saturdays. Message them on their social media platforms to book.