Well, what a great way to start. This quest has already paid for itself, I don’t think we would have visited this great little restaurant otherwise.
Izote Mexican is a survivor. It is located right at the start of the retail wasteland that is the unfashionable northern end of King Street. Getting to Izote from our place means walking past the carcasses of a series of failed eateries including The Wine Plate, Chennai and Katmandu Ma (which seems to be lingering as an ethnic gift shop), as well as other empty shops and a dead supermarket. So I wasn’t filled with confidence as I carried my brown-paper-bag-clad-bottle of Pinot Gris along the street (Izote is BYO — no jugs of margarita at this Mexican). However, when I got to Izote it was full of chatty people, evening light and smiling staff. After a minor confusion in which I nearly joined Christine’s table due to my mumbling (happy birthday by the way Christine), I was deposited at the correct table in the courtyard and waited for Strop who was coming by bus.
The back of the restaurant is a kind of enclosed (and air-conditioned thankfully) courtyard with lots of plants. Strop’s first comment on arrival was that it felt very Mexican and it is hard to argue with her especially as neither of us have been to Mexico.
The staff were very friendly and helpful with everything from food advice to pronunciation coaching. The food was excellent, although the servings were larger than anticipated so we didn’t explore desserts and ended up waddling back along King Street, sweating and complaining about the heat.
For starters we had guacamole (it is a Mexican restaurant after all) but opted for the posh one with a tomatoey salsa, and ceviche because we had recently watched an episode of Justified in which a female fugitive orders ceviche from a food truck and neither of us had ever heard of it before so it seem serendipitous (in the show she immediately becomes violently ill and her exasperated partner asks “who orders ceviche from a Mexican food truck”, but we trusted Izote). Turns out ceviche is fish, barramundi in this case, marinated in lime juice with coriander and other yummy stuff. More please.
For mains we had prawn fajita and chicken enchilada verde. Both were very good and came with rice and salsa and guacamole. There was a minor mishap when Strop misjudged the prawn-holding capacity of a tortilla and coated the front of her white blouse with a very tasty tomato sauce. Luckily the prawn was saved.
So basically we loved it and would happily go back if we didn’t have umpteen other King Street eateries to visit before we are too fat to move.
Next up at number 18 is Rubyos.