Sorry to disappoint you, headline pedants, but El Capo is South American with some Mexican flavours. “There’s a tendency to label things Mexican as it’s easy to understand. But El Capo is about Latin flavours,” says chef Omar Andrade. Whichever way you want to look at it El Capo, which means ‘the boss of bosses’ is a whole lot of fun.
A local artist was commissioned to decorate the walls with bling, guns and girls, but most disturbing is the drawing of the bikini babe with a rooster for a head holding a large machete with the words los nuevos gallos! scrawled just above it. (It means ‘the new roosters’.)
It’s not about tacos or tequila here, though there are little deep-fried corn bread pucks ($6). The menu has more of a focus on pickles, chilli and smoke.A ceviche ($15) of kingfish is incredibly acidic, layered with a fine sheet of potato cellophane. We’re loving the bed of creamed corn with whole pick- led purple and orange heirloom carrots sticking out the top, topped with toasted quinoa ($10). The ‘smokey beans’ ($15) are, indeed, hella smoky and topped with a slow-cooked egg, but the beans are slightly chalky.
You might be better off with the lamb cutlets ($22) served with a thick horchata cream. Deep-fried school prawns ($10) with ribbons of jamon are an absolute winner, side by side with a crisp Pacifico beer. Finish with the tres leches – a cake of three milks – topped with little pieces of cherry and layered with caramel ($10). Sure, you’ve gotta walk through the kitchen to get to the toilet (it’s past the door sprayed with a Virgin Mary warning you to “never snitch”) but El Capo is definitely worth a drive-by.