Johannesburg Mexican food-lovers go loco over new restaurant.  

The first of its kind in Braamfontein, Loco is a Mexican restaurant and tequila bar that opened for business on April 1.  

Churros for dessert served with chocolate and caramel dip. Photo: Aphelele Mbokotho

Located on 73 Juta street, the six-week-old spot is situated under The Playground Market and next door to Uncle Faouzi, both local crowd pullers. The pink walls and black and white ceilings are aesthetically pleasing. One can take great pictures inside because of the good lighting. To top off the beauty of the interior design is the student friendly prices and atmosphere. 

Between the groovy Latin-American music and the cacti dotted all over the restaurant, one is instantly transported from the streets of Braam to the streets of Cancun.  

Loco manager, Bulelwa Mbonambi explained their choice of colours, “Pink is a happy, soft, luxurious colour and green is a nature colour, we want our customers to feel like they are living a soft life when they enter our space.” 

The restaurant has 12 square standalone tables that can be combined for group settings. Two of the tables have couches as additional seating options. They have a small outside area that is facing the Bannister Hotel and Kitcheners.  

The menu has two sides to it, the first side with a service window between 9am to 5pm, offering breakfast and brunch options such as the breakfast burrito and corn fritters. The second side is reserved for lunch and dinner meals served from noon onwards.  

The prices are a student’s dream, ranging from R65 to R145 for food and drinks from R20. One could eat a decent meal for just R200.  

Wits Vuvuzela put the waiter’s recommendations of a chicken and beef taco to the test.  The beef taco was new on the menu, and they were assessing to see how customers would find it. While the chicken taco, is their best seller. The waiting period was around 15 minutes to 20 minutes, and this was not bad for lunchtime as there was a bit of traffic. Laid out on a medium sized plate, the chicken taco had diced tomatoes, roasted sweet corn, avocado, pressed red cabbage and that was sealed together with chipotle vinegar which gave a bit of sweetness to it. 

When it came to the taste test, the beef taco proved more flavourful than the chicken taco. From the first bite one tastes the green pepper, feta cheese, onions and the spicy sweet relish that made everything come together so well. A bonus to this was that the beef was tender.  

To round off the experience, churros off the dessert menu were ordered. They were not overwhelmingly sweet, and they are served with either chocolate or caramel sauce.  

The chicken taco with diced tomatoes, sweet corn, avocado and pressed red cabbage. Photo: Aphelele Mbokotho

All in all, the bill was R275. The tacos were R50 each, churros R75, and the two coca cola cooldrinks which were R30 each. 

Mbonambi said: “This is a contemporary Mexican restaurant instead of traditional because the palette needs to be relatable and still be educational to the SA market.”  

The restaurant also offers a unique tequila tasting experience in the evenings. Loco is open from 9am to 10pm from Wednesday to Saturday. 

FEATURED IMAGE: The restaurant – LOCO – pictured during its less busy hours as the security guard on the side watches people pass by. Photo: Aphelele Mbokotho