Oh my god! It’s another! Mexican! restaurant! This one is brought to you by Peter Lew and Nicole Galloway, the couple behind Potts Point Canto-diner Fei Jai. Barrio Chino, named for the various Chinatowns that exist in Latin America, is smack-bang in the middle of the action on Bayswater Road in the Cross.
The front part of the space is taken up with the bar, which is pretty damn good. The bartenders are working with an excellent list including Palomas, Micheladas, and Tommy’s Margaritas by the glass or pitcher. There’s also a large range of single village mescal and if you want to go super povvo, there are tinnies of Tecate served with wedges of lime coated in chilli salt. Fresh!
Out the back you’ll find the restaurant. It’s a big space, filled with communal tables and booths with an open kitchen. The walls are painted to look like exposed, crumbling bricks. There are tanned guys in extremely low-cut vee-neck tees ripping into tacos as far as the eye can see.
Food-wise, we’d probably suggest ordering the tuna tostada (a round corn chip topped with chipotle mayo, raw tuna, avocado and deep-fried leek) and the albondigas - pork and beef meatballs in tomato sauce. Having tried every taco on the menu, we can tell you that they’re not really worth your time. The barbecued corn with chipotle mayo, cheese and lime we order gets lost along the way somewhere so we can’t vouch for it, but the guac and chips are worth ordering with a few beers in the bar.
Your best bet, really, is sticking to the bar and not bothering with the restaurant out the back. The drinks are great, the bar staff are nice and you can order snacks right from your barstool. Plus, anything lacking in the department of zing is easily covered with a veil of really great tequila.