Growing up in a South American family in New York predisposed me to adoring Latino food. Growing up in a Jewish family in New York predisposed me to loving Chinese food (yes, the stereotype is true in my case). Moving to Australia a decade ago brought me multitudes of glorious Chinese food but there is a tragic, pathetic lack of Latin food here. The late and unlamented Montezuma’s in Phillip served a microwaved Lean Cuisine facsimile of Mexican and was hardly worth mentioning. After its closure, there was a years-long drought of any proper Mexican in Canberra* until the opening of a branch of Guzmàn y Gomez Taqueria. GyG brought tasty, fresh, and well-spiced burritos and tacos to Civic (as well as yummy Jarritos sodas). A few branches of the mostly unimpressive and wildly variable Mad Mex didn’t help matters, but Yuki of SMB tipped me off that a spinoff of Bondi’s Beach Burrito Company was open in the old Woodstock location on City Walk. Any Mexican, even Californified pseudo-Mex, causes an instant Pavlovian reaction in me, and Mr S-P and I headed there posthaste.
BBC (heh), as the name implies, has a casual, beachy, cantina vibe with pom-poms and serapes serving as decorative accents. Orders are placed at the bar.
We decided to make a meal out of small plates. First up was an appetizer-sized quesadilla. Unlike at most places, which give you a dipping bowl of salsa on the side, here the salsa was actually layered in with the cheese. This resulted in a delightfully gooey, smokey, cheese snack, pre-cut into finger-friendly strips.
Next up was a favorite USA pub food snack that I’ve never seen in Australia: jalapeño poppers. Unfortunately, BBC’s version did not live up to their bite-sized poppable name, and were in fact rather too large. Biting into one caused the coating to crumble and the cream cheese to squirt out like toothpaste. The jalapeños themselves were nearly raw. I was unable to finish more than two.
An assortment of three tacos with different fillings was the “main” of sorts. The least of them was the chili con carne, according to the Mr. Chipotle chicken and pulled beef were tastier, and liberal garnish of pico de gallo disguised a pretty hefty amount of filling.
Finally my most anticipated dish: taquitos filled with pulled pork. I say pulled pork even though the menu claimed they in fact contained cochinita pibil, that Mexican classic of orange-juice-marinated pork. The pork was juicy, tender, and perfectly shredded, but lacked the tangy sweetness of real pibil and required a bit of doctoring with lime wedges and Tapatio sauce to punch up the flavor. Notwithstanding, they were decently sized and perfectly crunchy and very, very satisfying. But if you’re looking for spicy pig, you’d actually be better off with GyG’s chipotle pork.
Overall BBC is not a bad option for fairly tasty Mexican in the city. The atmosphere is nice and the food is only slightly overpriced. Just avoid the poppers.
*Don’t even get me started on the allegedly Mexican Melbourne restaurant which managed to serve me an oxymoron on a plate: a quesadilla with no cheese in it. When I mentioned this to the server, they took it back to the kitchen and returned it to me five minutes later. A handful of cheese had been thrown over the top and melted so half-assedly that the outlines of the individual shreds were still visible. What a crock.