A recent visit to Panchos was like a blast from the past. Reminiscent of uni days and a big, rowdy night out with mates. Now I suppose on my visit it fell more so in the latter category. A dinner catch up with some choice gals that I know. I’m not sure why Panchos had popped into my head, but I do really enjoy Mexican food and for this group Vic Park has proven to be a nice central location to where we all work.
The décor is like a Mexican rainbow, an eclectic mix of sombreros and guest inspired graffiti on the walls. Some of which is slightly risqué to say the least. It’s a bit of a maze inside, with a main dining room and then other smaller rooms all jammed with tables off in different directions. We were sat in one of the smaller rooms and by the time it had filled up, the volume was definitely above a dull roar.
They offer a fairly extensive menu with a tex-mex slant and plenty of frozen cocktail options available – pina colada, mojito, margarita, you name it! Plus on the night we arrived it was “ladies night” so if you ordered a main meal you could get a half price frozen cocktail! I still opted for a glass of wine, but the option of a bargain slushy was appealing.
I’d seen a few meals arrive while we had been seated and they were on the generous side so we opted just to share some chili con queso between us as a starter. The option of mild, medium or hot chilli was offered and unsure of how ‘hot’ hot was, we went with medium. We probably could have afforded to go with hot, because as someone who doesn’t do overly well with spicy food the medium heat option was very light on spice. Having said that though it was a decadently cheesy dip and settled our grumbly tummies ahead of mains.
They had all your classics – nachos, burritos, tacos, enchiladas, etc and I thought that the combination plates that they offered were perfect for the indecisive, which I can be on occasion. I went with the Gallina, two chicken enchiladas and a chicken taco ($24). Combination plates proved the popular choice around the table. They were very generous in size and full of flavour. Not to forget served with an indulgent amount of cheese and an ample dollop of sour cream (I don’t actually like sour cream but for those that do, you wont be left wanting for it here :)).
Now there was actually an error with my meal and I got my two chicken enchiladas, but the taco was beef and not chicken. I had queried this with the waitress and despite telling her that it was actually not a drama and I would happily eat the beef taco, they swiftly rectified the situation by bringing me a chicken taco. When I had initially looked down at my plate with the three items I had thought it would be a struggle to get through, so adding another taco into the mix really upped the challenge, but I did appreciate that they had corrected the error so quickly and without question.
I really enjoyed my meal. Yes, it’s cheesy and does not have the same modern flair as some of the new Mexican establishments around town – el Publico or La Cholita, but it has its place. You know what to expect and I was not disappointed.
I was fairly full after mains, but a few desserts were ordered that I did try (would have been rude not to right? J) The Mexican Chocolate Mousse ($7.50) was delicious! Silky smooth light and refreshing, served with whipped cream. It really did manage to find the right balance between chocolate richness, while still being on the light side. Very nice. The other dessert was interesting – Sopapillas ($7.50), Crispy flour tortilla snaps dusted in cinnamon, served with two scoops of premium vanilla ice cream, topped with caramel and a dash of chocolate! It looked interesting when it arrived and I had wondered how tortillas would go in a dessert but they actually worked really well – a nice contrast between the crispy tortilla with the cinnamon spice and the creamy ice-cream. Not bad at all!
This venue really is ideal for families or large groups, slightly challenging on the volume front for a bit of a girly chat, but that was fine – we just spoke louder, added to the din :) I liked the food and found the service friendly and attentive. It’s a bit of fun and it’s been operating for years now. You know what to expect at Panchos. So get together with some amigos and give it a whirl :)