I must admit to not knowing that much about Mexican food, at least not authentic Mexican food. I do know that locally it generally seems to fall within two types, stodgy Tex-Mex or sexed up overpriced street food. Given that I don’t like either of these I am pleased to say that Lucky Lupitas appears to be aiming for that much rarer third category, decent food (if a little unadventurous) at a reasonable price.
First up I really liked the look of the place. Arriving just after opening finding a park was difficult and with the rate this place filled up we were lucky to get the second to last seats. Once you enter you are confronted with a small, cosy dining area with exposed copper piping and concrete floors. The staff are friendly and drink offerings include an unusual prickly pear margarita. And in something a bit unusual for Adelaide it was funny to see someone else taking photos of their food.
Between the three of us we decided on two appetiser style dishes while we were waiting for our three larger meals to arrive. The Tostones, twice cooked plantain chips with black bean mash, crema and habanera-tomato sauce weren’t quite what I was expecting. Plantains are similar to bananas and I was expecting something similar to fried banana chips. These however didn’t have the crisp texture nor the slight sweetness I was looking for, being a little mushy and with a more savoury flavour. For the price it was a smaller serve that I would have expected as well. Not something I’d choose to order again.
I thought the empanadas were much better. Empanadas are like the South and Central American of a pasty although they come in a much wider range of versions than pasties, and can be baked or fried. Filled with smoked pulled chicken, roasted corn, cheese, green onion, cilantro (coriander), guacamole and sour cream, these were light and delicate and two bites worth in size. Again given the price I would have preferred a couple more in the serve but these were good.
First and least successful of the mains was the Chilaquilies con pollo. This dish came with pulled chicken, salsa, guacamole, black beans and sour cream. What looked like corn chips when it hit the table turned out to be fried tortillas (I had to look this up afterwards). Loved the tasty pulled chicken but not the tortillas, which had the consistency of soggy nachos. I think the main issue was that it just reminded me to much of what I don’t like about Mexican food here.
Better was the Mole de Colorado con pollo. Mole is a sauce that exists as many varieties through different parts of Mexico, and at its best is deep in colour and complex in flavour. I don’t know much about it but my understanding is that the best regarded versions come from near Oaxaca and include chillies and chocolate. This version was a bit more like a paste than a sauce to the few times I’d tried it before and I remember enjoying it on the night.
Competing for dish of the night though with the empanadas were the Lucky ribs, smoked short beef ribs. With good flavours and very tender, the meat could have been a little moister but still very good.
One of the difficulties of commenting about Lucky Lupitas is a lack of knowledge of the region’s cuisine. Consequently if there was something I liked or didn’t like about our meal I don’t know whether it was because of the dish being something I wouldn’t particularly like (we can’t like everything) or because of the way it was prepared here. On the whole though, a major advance from the starchy gloopy mess that generally passes for Mexican food around town. It’s quite a fun place, full of middle class rowdies and tables squished a bit tight together. And on a side note, it was amusing to see the couple at the next table independently order exactly the same five dishes as us.
Food – 7.5
Service – 7
Ambience – 7.5
Price – 6.5
1/4 Rupert Avenue
Bedford Park SA 5042
Tel (08) 8277 4004