I liked the food so much when I first reviewed Taco Bandits at Organic Deli Cafe earlier this year, we booked them as street food traders at Bitten Street. Jump forward five months and the Taco boys are settling in nicely to their new ‘Taqueria’ on Magdalen Road, where once lived Hyper Ramen and Oxfork.
The cool modern interior suits the brand better, as a plain canvas for their Day of the Dead style branding. Chilled, funky background beats wash over the space comfortably, and while you feel in no rush to dine, the speedy taco turnaround means those heading onwards for drinks and big nights out, or back home for an early night (pfft, not me, obvs) won’t be disappointed by a lengthy wait.
Taco’s and nachos are all reasonably priced between £4.95 and £6.50, with sides coming in at £2-5. Mexican-inspired cocktails and beers accompany the food well – Mexican Sangrias went down rather too well at my last visit *hic*. Portion-wise for a table of two I’d recommend two to three tacos each plus a shared side or two. We had five tacos, one bowl of nachos and a Mexican Chopped Salad between two and that was pretty perfect. Each of the tacos – yes, I’ve tried them ALL – are well above your average taco, each filled with inventive ingredients and contrasting textures. My particular favourites are the mole chicken and the butternut squash, roasted cauliflower tacos being notably good also.
As a salad fiend, I bloody loved the Mexican Chopped Salad of tomatoes, pineapple, onion, beans and fresh herbs. Plump, juicy and tangy with a range of contrasting textures and punchy flavours, just as a good salad should be. If you’re feeling adventurous, there’s the Taco Challenge. Finish three adobo chilli tacos in 15 minutes with no liquids and they’re free. The so-far-lonely hall of fame is a testament to the heat levels. Failing to complete the challenge lands you a £15 bill and your picture on the more heavily-populated hall of shame.
While Spurtle & Spoon’s brunch offering signed up for a three-month popup within the shared space, Taco Bandits have thankfully signed up for a full year. For now, it’s evenings only, but with a residential community on tap, it will hopefully become a permanent home. I hope so, I’d happily pop back for more, rapido!