Pancho Villa’s, 240 Canongate, Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH8 8AB (t: 0131 557 4416)
RATING: Food 3.5, Atmosphere 4, Service 3.5, Drinks 4, Toilets 3.5, Website 3.5
My contact promised a friendly atmosphere at busy Pancho Villa’s and he was right. He also promised good food and he was right again. He suggested we stayed away from tequila. Sadly, we didn’t heed his advice and suffered.
However, that’s a side issue. What about the food? The branding says an authentic taste of Mexico and the establishment in Edinburgh’s atmospheric Canongate (there is another in Glasgow’s vibrant Merchant City) is where creator Mayra Nunez says you savour the flavours and most popular dishes of her home town in Mexico, Valle De Bravo.
Well, the Edinburgh restaurant has been a firm favourite for many over 25 years so they must be doing something right and the in-house team answered a number of questions from diners unsure of what to order particularly as the food is served tapas-style so you to try different dishes. Beware, the bill can mount.
The Alitas de Pollo spiced chicken wings cooked in garlic, coated with chilli and honey proved a wonderful starter, the flavour exploding in the mouth.
My rustic lamb, picked from the specials menu, was interesting without being spectacular. It is lamb cooked with pasilla chillies, roasted garlic and mushrooms and topped with goats cheese. It was served with rice and the first few forkfuls were great but then I became bored with the taste. A pity. The tequila came later so that did not kill my taste buds.
I enjoyed the overall experience – it was busy without being rowdy – but I’ll not rush back and I’d hate to be there on a big party night. The noise may be too much.