When chef Fernando Reyes Barba showed up alongside our table holding a heavy molcajete, Mexico’s traditional stone mortar. it was clear times had changed at Señor Pico, which opened 17 years ago in the Rembrandt Hotel. That original Cal-Mex brand was established in 1964 by none other than Victor Bergeron of Trader Vic’s fame. It followed a similar franchise pattern until the chain died out in the United States.
Now independent, and for the first time under the direction of a real Mexican chef, the new Señor Pico boasts a menu rebuilt from the ground up, featuring many dishes never seen before at any Mexican eatery in Bangkok.
Anyone acquainted with real Mexican food, as opposed to the American versions usually seen around the world, may be stunned by the new menu. To start with, rather than defining Mexican cuisine by such fast-food items as tacos, burritos, quesadillas and nachos, Fernando’s menu provides a broader, deeper glimpse into his home country’s food culture.
Nowhere else in town have we seen such dishes as aguachile de camarón (B395), a soupy concoction of prawns marinated in lime juice, olive oil and chile de arbol, common in Mexico but practically unknown beyond the country’s borders.
House specialities include costillas de borrego (B695), chipotle-and-garlic-rubbed lamb cutlets, atun del diablo (B595), a seared tuna rubbed with Mexican spices served with avocado and mango salsa, and espetadas (B495), chargrilled Portugese-style kebabs, a choice of tiger prawns, jalapeño and cilantro sausage, beef or chicken.
Several dishes feature duck, which is popular in Mexico but rarely seen in American-style Mexican eateries. Higado de Pato (495B) is duck liver served with Mexican corncake, mango pico de gallo (fresh salsa) and a sauce of raspberry blended with chile ancho (dried Poblano chillies).
More familiar Mexican fare like tacos, burritos, quesadillas, fajitas and enchiladas are found on the menu as well. Tacos are offered both in the traditional soft style and in the crisped-tortilla style, here labelled tacos gringos (B350). The Baja-style fish tacos (B350) are a perfect combination of crunchy batter-fried fish, tart cabbage salad and piquant fresh salsa. Fans of huge San Francisco-style burritos, stuffed with beans and rice, will be happy to find these at Señor Pico as well. We particularly enjoyed the enchiladas de camarón (B450), filled with prawns flambéed in tequila.
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1F Rembrandt Hotel 19 Sukhumvit Soi 18
02-261-7100 | rembrandtbkk.com| 5pm-1am