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  • La Mesa is part of the bustling Julu 758 complex located on Julu Road, near the Fumin Road intersection. I visited on a Friday evening with a friend, the place was absolutely buzzing, very busy with a great atmosphere on a Friday evening. Originally the plan was to go to the little Izakaya in the same complex, but the prices there are to be sniffed at.

    So we ended up at La Mesa, a cosy Mexican restaurant located in the corner of the food hall. We were lucky enough to get a couple of seats by the window, people watching and hopefully some good food were on the cards. Three beers were available on tap: Asahi, Vedett and Boxing Cat (Right Hook).

    Onto the menu, the main body of it is dedicated to tacos, 16 different varieties covering Fish, Vegetarian, Chicken, Beef and Pork. Priced at 28 RMB each, or 2 for 50 RMB, the value matched the variation. I went for the ‘Lengua (Beef Tongue)’ and ‘The Seoul Sister’ options, as did my mate. A mixed bag indeed. The former was a soggy effort, the quality of the beef was nothing to shout about, and there was something a little off about the texture. The onion and coriander didn’t add much flavour and the ‘spicy chili sauce’ wasn’t spicy at all.

    In contrast, ‘The Seoul Sister’ was a delight. Rated at 3 peppers on the Chilli-o-meter, I was expecting spice. Whilst it wasn’t as hot as expected, it did give just the right amount of kick. Tender pork belly, kimchi, red onion, ranch dressing and spicy hot sauce all combined to great effect, the result being a very tasty taco. The kimchi was the most powerful of the ingredients, and alongside the juicy pork, it made for a really unusual, yet exquisite taco.

    The flour taco shells underwhelming; corn ones are offered on request. Will go for that option next time. Other options on the menu include a couple of burritos, three different Cuban sandwiches, a few salads and some churros. A decent array of options for sides too, including nachos and empanadas. We went for the ‘Spicy Beef Cheese Fries’. These were pretty tasty, a good dish to share. Heavy on the cayenne pepper, the cheese could have been melted more.

    There were a few cocktails on the menu, although I didn’t look beyond the Margaritas, and rightly so. A wise choice, they delivered. Excellent effort. The staff were very friendly and diligent, would definitely return here.

    Go for: Tacos (Recommend: ‘The Seoul Sister’, Margaritas.

    Avoid:

    Good for: Casual meet up with friends.

    Cost: 440 RMB for 2 people (4 Tacos, 1 Side, 6 drinks)

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SMARTREVIEWS

SmartReviews is SmartShanghai’s crack squad of amateur reviewers, eating their way around the city and writing about it. They have been chosen from a large pool of applicants and given a set of strict guidelines to follow to make sure their reviews are honest, informed and fair to both potential customers and the restaurants themselves.

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