Our knowledge of the Spanish language is mostly limited to a few numbers and affirmatives or in other words, a Pitbull song. So an internet search told us the name of the recently opened Maquina in Hauz Khas Village meant ‘machine’. Ensconced in wood like a saloon from the mid-West, the restaurant is divided into a glass-sheathed smoking section and indoor seating. The music is a medley of classic rock and Latino, the service warmer than the barrel of a just-fired Winchester rifle.
The menu, more arresting than the town sheriff, is a large laminated two-side document comprising a slew of Tex-Mex dishes including burritos, enchiladas, tacos, burgers, wings and poppers, among others. After much musing, we begin with the Nachos with Chili Con Cordero and the non-vegetarian Sampler.
The nachos, made in-house, come paper-thin and crisp and loaded with a delicious mélange of gooey cheese, chopped onions and jalapenos, cheese, refried beans and tender flavourful lamb, accompanied with salsa, sour cream and a zesty guacamole, in a manner calculated to stop even the Man vs Food host in his tracks. Nevertheless, we chow down like a horse with a nose bag, only occasionally coming up for air. As we pick at the debris, the platter struts in, a large wooden board topped with fried fish, chicken poppers, smoked chicken wings and albondigas or meatballs, attended to by three types of salsa and garlic and chilli mayonnaises.
While all palatable, the stand out items are the wings, smokier than a gunslinger’s den, and the toothsome meatballs apart from the fresh and chunky fruit salsas.
Like the nachos, the Johnny Walker burger turns out to be the best decision. As imposingly structured as the Alamo, it comprises a formidable tenderloin patty soaked in its namesake whiskey and topped with caramelised onions, grainy mustard, dripping with juices and a Johnny Walker Punch.
However, there’s always room for dessert. The Toblerone Shot comes in a shot glass, garnished with grated chocolate. The surprise lurks in the drink when you throw it back in the roof of your mouth; apart from the expected chocolate, thick lashes of Jack Daniels and rum swirl in the mix. We suspect Billy the Kid would have approved.
Meal for two: Rs 1,800 (including taxes, excluding alcohol)
Address: 30A, Hauz Khas Village. Ph: 33036772
The story appeared in print with the headline A Mexican Stand Off