There seems to be a terrible paucity of good Mexican food joints in Delhi.
One of the options that has been around for a while is Rodeo’s. Frankly, I haven’t even tried their stuff yet, but that’s only because I keep hearing very mixed reviews about the place.
A week ago, I was in the mood for Mexican and called up Harneet for ideas. That’s when I got to know about Sancho’s in South Ex [update: the location has now shifted to Connaught Place]. My experience was good enough to suggest an EOiD outing, and so yesterday seven of us landed up there for some dinner.
I find the ambience of the place just about middling. A paper flier on each table gives the obligatory list of Mexican chilies and their descriptions — an idea much better implemented by Nirula’s decades ago, with brightly colored posters of chili peppers on the walls of their main location at Connaught Place.
Sancho’s is located on the 3rd and 4th floors, so their interior designer should really have made better use of the one side on which they have windows. As of now, only three tables are by the windows. Sitting anywhere else puts you in the middle of loud music (and why don’t they play Mexican or Latin American folk?) and tables full of (disproportionately expat) diners who are forced to be loud to make themselves heard over the din.
Another irritant were the numerous flies which plagued our table (I have no clue if this was a problem in other parts of the restaurant). It’s certainly not pleasant to keep checking whether that fly is on the inside or the outside of your daiquiri glass, and to keep covering your water with coasters.
That said, our experience with the drinks and food was rather good. As Pamela had promised, the frozen daiquiris were strong and well mixed. Several plates of tortilla chips accompanied by a smorgasbord of sauces served for an appetizer. None, not even the habanero, were exceptionally hot. I imagine that’s a concession to the more conservative North Indian palate. Perhaps the most interesting of the lot was the tangy mango-based sauce. The one sauce for which we had to pay separately, the “homemade” guacamole, on the other hand certainly didn’t justify its price tag of Rs. 99, and proved to be rather flat and bland.
Learning from Dave’s prior experiences at Sancho’s (confirmed by my own first visit), we stayed away from the enchiladas on the menu, as well as any other dishes involving enchilada sauce. Our order included chicken burritos, nachos and fajitas. I certainly enjoyed my plate of Mexican chicken fajita. The sizzler full of crispy veggies (including half a cob of corn) is as good to bite into as it is to look at, and is ably accompanied by flour tortillas, tomato-flavoured rice, sour cream and bean sauce.
I can’t say I’m as big a fan of the burritos. Perhaps I’m too conditioned by my scores of trips to the local Chipotle outlet in Evanston, which serves excellent — if a little too hearty — burrito wraps “to go”. Unlike those wraps, the burritos at Sancho’s are invariably covered with one or more sauces, which to me only makes a mish-mash of the flavours of the filling. I’d much rather have them serve the sauce as a side, left to the diner’s discretion to include in any bite.
All in all though, the meal was filling and delicious, and the staff are certainly cheerful, both in accommodating requests to change your table and even more so in refilling your glass of drink. The Mexican chef seems a sweet chap as well — he came over at the end to talk about his plans to introduce several authentic Mexican dishes into the currently Tex-Mex menu, and sent over some complimentary soup in tequila shooter glasses. Very sweet indeed, but we’d have preferred him to have put those glasses to better use
Price: In a small group, eating within Rs. 600 per head should be easily possible. Drinks would be extra. Opting for prawns or other sea food would raise the bill, while veggie dishes would lower it. A 10% service charge is included.
Location: M-48, Outer Circle, Connaught Place. Map Location.
Timings: 12pm to 12am daily. There is at least one report of a bad luncheon experience at Sancho’s. For that reason as well as for ease of parking, you might prefer to do dinner.
All photographs by Nishant Jha.
[update Feb 2011: this review was written for the earlier location of Sancho's at South Extension. We hope, but do not guarantee, that their standards have been maintained in Connaught Place.]