Have always wanted to try Vatos Urban Tacos since it opened as I’ve been wondering what Korean-Mexican (Ko-Mex) cuisine is like but friends who had tried it earlier gave mixed reviews. But as it was arguably the only place in Singapore that offers Margaritas with beer bottles overturned in them (a.k.a Mexican-Bulldog style) – something which I saw in practically every F&B outlet in Miami, Florida but just didn’t have the time to try one – a pal and I decided to go there last Friday for an early Christmas celebration dinner.
When we made our reservation, we were told that there were two sittings – one at 6.30pm and the other at 9pm, and we will have to vacate our table by 9pm if we opted for the early slot. Such requests have been quite common of late and what we usually do is simply go somewhere else for coffee and desserts if the eatery can’t spare us the time. Anyway, we were here for the tacos and margaritas, we reminded ourselves so off we went.
Vatos Urban Tacos is located at the colonial white armoury building known as the South Beach Quarter within the South Beach complex (diagonally opposite Raffles Hotel). The menu is kind of what you would expect from a Mexican restaurant with offerings such as chips & salsa for starters, tacos, quesadillas, burritos and burgers. The Korean part comes in the form of items such as Kimchi Carnita Fries ($16), Kimchi Pork Quesidillas ($18) and Spicy Chicken Tacos ($10 for 2, $14 for 3). Drinks-wise, there is a selection of craft beers on draft and of course their signature Vatos’ Ritas (margaritas + beer).
As we arrived early with the place yet to be packed, service was attentive and prompt (although the waiter did forgot one of our margaritas!) My pal’s Dae Han Mango arrived first and impressive as it looked, the Mango Margarita + Longboard Island Lager took a while to get used to. It was thick and sweet but it was also a case of “Mr Mango Suffocating Mr Tequila” and even “Mr Beer”. Refreshing but not “toxic” enough, hee.
I opted for the combination commonly known as the Mexican Bulldog Margarita which is a Lime Margarita + Corona Beer. It is as refreshing as I expected it to be but on hindsight, I would probably prefer drinking a Corona and a Margarita separately on their own as the beer does dilute the taste of the margarita somewhat, in a case of “Mr Beer Suffocating Mr Margarita”… What was really fascinating is how the magarita glass will never overflow,as long you keep the head of the beer bottle submerged in the margarita (law of physics at play here, folks). Priced at $29 each, it may seem pricey but remember you are paying for two beverages here.
Food-wise, we decided to go for the tacos. First choice was the Galbi Short Rib Tacos ($13 for 2/$18 for 3) which was filled with marinated short rib, ssamjang aioli, Asian slaw, cilantro, chopped onions and roasted sesame seeds, and served on a soft handmade tortilla. The beef, though not exactly tender, was tasty but we would have preferred chewing it on a hard taco shell rather on a soft one (something which we forgot to ask if there was a choice).
We also ordered Korean Pork Belly Tacos ($11 for 2/$15 for 3) which is pork belly marinated with a Korean chili sauce, julienned spring onions and ssamjang aioli. Again, though the pork belly is chewy and flavourful, and went well with all the garnishes, we would rather it be on a hard corn tortillas like those given in the free basket of Fresh Chip & Salsa (which the tornatillo salsa verde and roasted onion chiptotle salsa are really good, by the way).
If ever we make a return, we definitely would try the Honey Tequila Chicken Wings ($16) and maybe the Quesidillas which looked more value-for-money than the Tacos, judging from what we saw on other diners’ table.
Vatos Urban Tacos has a nice ambience and is a good place if you just want to have drinks and try out the beer margaritas. I actually fancy the cheaper (but delicious) tacos at Guzman Y Gomez more, but would give Vatos’ other offerings a try in future.
Vatos Urban Tacos is at 36 Beach Road, South Beach Quarter.