South American food is something that never fails to get me excited. When Los Banditos opened in Boldmere, bringing with it a whole host of South American dishes and cocktails, I was desperate to try it. It took me a couple of weeks trying before I could get a table. It was tricky on the night we actually booked, but the manager very kindly managed to squeeze us in despite being fully booked.
Our reservation was for 7:15 on a Friday night and we arrived bang on time. It was super busy but, as promised, our table was ready for us and we were seated straight away. The decor inside is bright, colourful and as you’d expect, decorated with cacti and candy skulls!
They scored points straight away, as we spotted 3 variations of Pips Hot Sauce on our table! Kudos for having great taste in hot sauce, and supporting a local foodie legend.
We didn’t have to wait long at all before our drinks order was taken, and seeing as Los Banditos is one of very few places in Boldmere that does cocktails, I thought it would be rude not to try out a Mexican Margarita!
It was a good choice, the Margarita was well made, refreshing, not too strong but you could definitely taste the tequila. I also liked that the rim was salted on one side, so it wasn’t too salty to drink. Ste was driving so he had a ginger beer, but was impressed that it was Fever Tree.
It took a while to decide what to have, as everything on the menu genuinely sounds really good. It’s split up into starters/tapas, mains, street food (so burritos, tacos, quesadillas) and salads, so there’s a good selection of different styles of food.
We decided to go for starters and mains, and seeing as I’m a sucker for any form of chorizo, I went for the pan fried chorizo with onions and peppers in a red wine glaze, while Ste had the picadillo cuenco: spicy minced beef and potatoes in a tortilla basket.
Considering how busy it was, we didn’t have too long a wait for our starters. The chorizo looked and smelled amazing and didn’t disappoint on flavour. The smokiness of the paprika blended with the sweetness of the onions, peppers and red wine reduction and was really scrumptious. My only criticism? I would have loved some bread to mop up the sauce that was left.
Ste really enjoyed the Picadillo Cuenco too, which was a mixture of spicy beef and potatoes served in a tortilla cone with fresh chilli on top. I stole a bite and I have to agree, it was really tasty!
For our mains, as tempting as the burritos sounded, we both decided to go for something different. I chose Xim Xim, a Brazilian dish of chicken with peanut sauce, king prawns, dirty rice and nachos. Ste went for Cordero Seco, lamb cooked in dark beer with crispy cajun potatoes and a tortilla wrap.
The cordero seco smelled absolutely amazing, the combination of the lamb, cumin and spicy cajun potatoes was really enticing. Ste said the lamb was really tender, you could taste the beer in the sauce but it wasn’t overpowering, and the spice level was just right. The tortilla was a nice addition too, and was soft and fluffy, almost like a naan bread. It was a huge portion too!
My Xim Xim was a stunner, the presentation was lovely with big, crunchy nachos, crispy fried chicken and huge shell-on prawns, garnished with fresh chilli and spring onion.
I really enjoyed eating it too. The chicken was nice and juicy from being cooked on the bone, with a crispy seasoned skin and the prawns were delicious. The peanut sauce gave everything a nutty sweetness, while there was some heat in the dirty rice to round it all off. This was an interesting and tasty dish, I’d definitely recommend it.
We were both pretty full after all that, but I’m unashamedly greedy, so I had another cocktail and a look at the pudding menu. The cocktail was the El Chapo, which is essentially a bourbon old fashioned with a shot of tequila in it. It sounds awful, but it’s actually really quite good! Very strong though, not one for the faint hearted!
After a look at the dessert menu we both decided to have something, although I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I completely forgot to photograph the puddings, and by the time I remembered, nearly all of mine was gone!
Nevertheless, I had the quesillo, a South American version of creme caramel, which was a really thick set egg custard with gooey caramel sauce. If you like an egg custard tart, you’d love this dessert.
Ste had the suspiro limeno, a sweet lemon and lime curd topped with meringue. He wasn’t a fan of the crunchy meringue topping (preferring the softer, lemon meringue pie style) but he loved the lemon lime curd.
By the time we’d finished our puddings the place was absolutely buzzing, with every table full and the bar around 3 deep with people having pre-dinner drinks and waiting for their seats. We got the bill and headed off quickly so we could free up our table for one of the waiting parties.
Our total bill came in just over £64, including 2 cocktails, soft drink, coffee and all 3 courses. This didn’t include a service charge, so we left a tip in cash, as our waitress was a star – efficient, friendly, polite and good fun, especially when we were attempting to pronounce the dishes in Spanish!
I think Los Banditos Boldmere is a brilliant addition to Sutton’s growing restaurant collection, and I’ll certainly be back again soon.
Not been yet? Call to book on 0121 355 0090.