Mexican fiesta: Tinga, a new taqueria, dishes out delicious pork tacos. Scan the QR code to their Spanish chef's playlist if you're ordering in!
Expect bright, cosy interiors paired with an elaborate menu including chimichangas, empanadas and churros
This taqueria on TTK Road is all of 200 sq ft. But its flavours are big enough for a ballroom, courtesy chef Joacim Ramirez, all the way from Puebla city. From slow-cooked pulled pork tacos to a surprise sun-dried ‘hibiscus’ option for vegetarians, we’re quickly impressed as we settle into our bar stool-style seats at ‘Tinga’ (named after the signature on their menu). As for the cosy interiors, the bright colours jumping off the walls could easily lift a grey mood, and we find ourselves counting mini cactus pots, tastefully tucked into corner spaces as we wait for our refreshments to arrive.
These include chilled Cucumber Lemon Juice, Horchata (made with rice milk and cinnamon) and a Pina Colada. Our vote is with the latter which is made with coconut milk and is different from the usual with teeny, tiny bits of pineapple in the mix, for pops of sweetness as you sip. But what sets this place apart from other recently opened Mexican outfits in the city is of course, their native chef and thereby access to authentic ingredients. “We import our masa harina (corn flour for tortillas), guajillo chillies and achiote paste from Mexico after careful curation by our chef Joa’s mom. She even handpicked the chillies and the achiote paste from the local markets of Puebla for our first import,” says owner Gero Francis (32).
Gero owns a resort in Mexico (Aqualum in Tulum) as well as a sustainable shoe brand (Tsouls), while his partner Annie Gali (26) is a student of economics and supply chain management. Their mutual love for Mexican cuisine got them thinking when the pandemic hit last year, and after roping in consultant chef Saravanan, formerly with The Park Chennai to help them set up — it was a matter of eight months before they were ready to open. This is apart from their central kitchen at Porur, which will focus on home deliveries.
We find ourselves unable to stop reaching for the queso nachos with chef Joacim rolling out a new sauce every 10 minutes! Our personal favourites from a deliciously versatile list of 14 include the spicy black mayo (prepped with roasted guajillo chillies) and the bright green zing of salsa verde. Shareable plates like empanadas and chimichangas aside, the hearty Beef Birria with Consommé is a main you might want to save your appetite for. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, we recommend the Tortitas de Platano Macho (plantain balls), which remind us a little of Kerala’s beloved pazham pori, and crunchy churros hot off the stove, paired with an orange cream dip. The latter offers surprise notes of nostalgia taking us right back to those cream biscuits from childhood.
Meal for two at INR 850 approx.
Takeaway boxes come with instructions on how to assemble the perfect taco and the bags even have a QR code that directs customers to chef Joacim’s Spanish playlist for a thoughtful moodsetter as you eat.