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A hearty meal, soothing music, a nice backdrop with dim lighting and an interesting conversation with like-minded people is something I look out for on a weekend.

I was making the most of my Saturday afternoon, relaxing at an Indo-Mexican eatery and having an intriguing tête-à-tête with the founder, the head chef and some really amazing foodies.

Mexican food carries a beautiful fragrance and if it happens to rain that very afternoon, the sweet smell of rain mixed with the rich aroma of herbs and spices leaves you with a heady experience.

What better way than to start it with a fresh rainy morning? Although February is not really the month of rains, it was a beautiful start for the day, just like the ones you witness after the first showers in June. The mystifying beauty of the grey clouds and the drizzle made for a perfect time to indulge in a lip smacking Mexican affair.

Being an ardent lover of the Mexican cuisine and a big foodie, I was recently invited to visit Zapata’s in Malad. The restaurant had a distinct theme, the Chef’s Table, particularly designed only for the food aficionados.

Zapata’s is a newly opened Mexican-inspired restaurant founded by Frederic. The name is very catchy and as if it just resounds in your head after saying it twice, try it. This new Mexican eatery dishes out freshest of ingredients prepared adeptly by the culinary team, and a variety of South American mocktails and cocktails, expertly crafted by their!

This Mexican eatery has a duo setting – the outside has a much more casual and lively Indo-Mexican scene than the calm and formal dining area inside. So you can either choose to be seated outside and enjoy the busy road and the falling rain (if at all), or sit inside and have a light conversation or just gorge away to scrumptious Mexican food. However, I got to experience both the sides and I can’t decide which one I liked more.

A smiling staff that looks after you well makes you feel nothing short of a celebrity. As I sat, I was welcomed with a glass of water and asked for my choice of poison. I tried their White wine Sangria, which surely hit the spot and did justice to the pleasant climate. Although, I should have called for their hot chocolate instead which was very well spoken of, I will definitely try it out the next time.

Coming to the food, we began with the Nachos de Zapata’s. This Mexican favourite was served in a large plate with refried beans, topped with Queso sauce, Pico de Gallo salsa, guacamole, sour cream, olives and sliced jalapenos. You can try it with your choice of chicken or veggies. I preferred the chicken one better than the vegetarian. The Nachos were crisp and the texture was right too but I found it a little bland. The fusion of chicken and the refried beans, for some reason didn’t have the right flavor or the spices weren’t muddled well to give my taste buds the right Mexican punch.

Next up was the Beer-battered Fish Taquitos. These lovely bite sized taquitos are a blend of delicious Mexican spices, served in soft and mini tortillas on a wooden board. I also tried their Cottage Cheese Taquitos, that were tender and delicious too but I prefer the fish one more as it had an appeasing aftertaste.

Then came the veg, chicken and lamb Tostadas. Not a lamb person, so I just stuck to trying out the veg and chicken ones. I completely devoured the Chicken Tostadas. Their Golden fried tortillas had a brilliant crunch and the toppings with that zesty tang were a party in the mouth. Add a little bit of chipotle or hot sauce to it, and it would be a killer Mexican dish to be relished. We also got a portion of Mexican Fries – a complete sensation! These assorted fries of sweet and savoury potato fingers with a nice crunch, sprinkled with tangy Mexican spices was the hero. Although, I wish they served it with a spicier dip to give it a contrasting kick.

Having eaten a lot of Mexican delicacies, we thought this must be the end of it as our tummies were full. But how could we forget the most lip smacking Burritos? If it is new to you, these Burritos are flour tortilla rolls filled with Mexican tomato rice, refried beans, and grated cheese with Pico de Gallo and sour cream. They served us two distinctive and flavorful Burritos. I thoroughly enjoyed the Chipotle grilled fish Burrito. They came with an assorted variety of dips, right from the Habanero, Chipotle, Guacamole, Queso, Pineapple Salsa, Rancheros, guacamole, to the sour cream. Out of all the dips I’ve tried so far, I have liked the Chipotle and Habanero sauce with my Burrito. The rest, apart from guacamole and sour cream, need to taste a little different from one another. I could get more of a tomato soup flavor in the Rancheros dip. It was my first time that I had this dip so I don’t know if the flavor was right or not but I didn’t quite like it so much.

Jumping on to the sweets, I am a dessert geek! I’m always ready to try new desserts and coffee. Moving away from their standards, they served us a dessert platter with an assortment of sweet and savoury treats and we surely had a chocolaty meltdown. The platter had the Tres leches (a light cake soaked in three kinds of milk: evaporated milk, condensed milk and heavy cream), Churros dipped in hot chocolate sauce, Zapata’s Flan with special caramel sauce, Chocolate Empanadas.

My personal favourite was the Chocolate Empanadas, which is a fried turnover pastry dough stuffed with variety of caramelized nuts, dusted in cinnamon sugar and served with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. I have never liked the Tres Leches, so I just had like one spoon of it, only to realize that no chef can change my mind for that dessert. The Churros were not up to the mark. It was dripping in oil and had a very strange taste. Coming to the flan, I was surprised I actually enjoyed the caramel tones festooned with a pretty and delicate sugar art décor situated atop of the dessert.

All in all, a delightful Saturday afternoon spent with a bunch of foodies and bloggers.

Nachos de Zapata's Assorted Dips Beer battered Fish Taquitos Chicken Tostadas Chipotle grilled fish burritos Dessert PlatterMexican Fries

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