Last weekend, Jen and I decided to check out the new American Latin eatery that everyone is going nuts over.
It's called Barrio Comida and is located right on the Quayside, outside the law courts, where the quayside beach is during the summer.
Sitting at the foot of luxe business buildings, at first glance, the compact restaurant looks humbly basic. Upon closer inspection, it becomes visible that the structure of the taco shack comprises of a couple of shipping containers crafted together with almost two whole sides cut away to be replaced with glass. It has a charming appearance that is both welcoming and unpretentious.
When we arrived, Barrio Comida's popularity was immediately evident; there were customers sat at almost every table. Upon entering through the sliding glass door, we were hit with the yummy smell of fried meat, fresh lime and coriander. Along with the exotic beats of Latin America and sun streaming through the huge windows, I felt like I had been transported to a distant land.
A selection of tacos are on the menu with what look like authentic fillings. The recommended portion size is 3 tacos per person. I chose the Carnie Asada, Cabeza and Camron. What's great about this taco shack is that the breads are naturally gluten-free and dairy-free which is perfect for Jen. When we spoke to the server about dietary intolerances, she was very knowledgable about the ingredients used within each of the dishes and was quick to make recommendations and suggestions about which tacos to choose. Jen ended up going for the Lengua, Camaron and Mole. We chose a cool looking soda called Jarritos and found a seat at the window facing the Tyne.
It didn't take long for our food to arrive. Served up on a modest paper plate the tacos looked colourful, hot and fresh off the grill. I've never ordered from a Latin American street vendor before but I expect it would be just like this.
This is food that is designed to be eaten with your hands and Barrio Comida, expect that from you. On each bench is a roll of paper towels that can be used to wipe up messy fingers. These guys know what they're doing. The grilled prawns of the "Camron" was definitely my favourite and one I would recommend. Don't let the thought of ox tongue put you off and try the "Lengua" too, which was Jen's preference.
The whole experience was a lot of fun, we got to try new food and listen to new music in a new location. Even after finishing our food, we felt like we were under no pressure to leave and continued to enjoy the atmosphere and watch people walking by along the riverside. By the time we were done, the place was a lot quieter but it still felt comfortable. We cannot wait to return to try the rest of the menu. If you ever find yourself down on the Quayside, be sure to check out Barrio Comida for an experience of Latin America.
Find out more at www.barriocomida.com