When you find yourself in a place with colourful streamers hanging from the ceiling and murals featuring images of cacti, Frida Kahlo and skulls with moustaches wearing sombreros, you know you’re in for a good time.

El Loco ceilingEl Loco Mural

And that’s exactly what you get at El Loco, the Mexican cantina in Surry Hills, where cheeky margaritas and gloriously messy tacos are skilfully combined.

In keeping up with Sydney’s chilly weather, the team at El Loco have released three winter specials that we were just itching to try.

On the drinks menu, they’ve introduced the Apple Pie Margarita ($14), which smells exactly like its name suggests with slices of apple lining the cup and a heavy sprinkle of cinnamon blanketing the beverage. Featuring Olmeca Plata tequila, apple juice and cinnamon sugar syrup, this cocktail goes down smoothly and deserves to be enjoyed sip by sip.

El Loco Apple Pie Margaritas

The second addition to the drinks menu is the Mexican Mulled Wine ($9). This is made from a rich red wine layered with jalapeno sugar syrup and orange juice. Traces of nutmeg, ginger, star anise and cinnamon also appear throughout the drink, resulting in a subtly spicy, warm wine with a sweet and gentle aroma. It’s hard not to cuddle the wineglass in this colder weather.

El Loco Mulled Wine and SlushieEl Loco’s Mexican Mulled Wine pictured alongside their Pink Cuco Slushie

The last winter special jumps off the food menu and, honestly, you’d have to be loco to visit El Loco and not try it. The Fried Chicken with chilli dip ($7) is either the perfect share plate or the ideal indulgence for the lone fried-food lover – depending on your perspective (no judgement here). My eyes actually lit up in excitement when they were placed on our table and after that first bite, I knew my excitement was well founded. The chicken was magnificently crunchy and was complemented by the sweet and slightly spicy chilli dip. It’s not hard to imagine yourself devouring the entire plate with ease.

El Loco Fried Chicken

You can still, of course, expect to see your favourites at El Loco this winter. The chorizo quesadilla still oozes out with its oily and juicy goodness and the El Loco Salad continues to amaze with its structural arrangement of tortilla chips and layers upon layers of cheese. The side of corn chips with guacamole and salsa remains as addictive as ever, and the churros with chocolate or caramel sauce are still a great way to finish off your meal.

Chorizo QuesadillaEl Loco SaladEl Loco Churros

And who can forget the tacos?

El Loco’s reputation as a great cheap and cheerful meet-up spot is understandably owed largely to the seven different tacos that regularly grace the menu.

El Loco tacos

Taco fillings include beef, spit pork, chicken, prawn, tofu, fish and the ever-secretive ‘Secret Taco’, which varies regularly but usually includes an ingredient that you’re likely to enjoy if you remain ignorant. Guessing is part of the fun though!

El Loco sign

El Loco, Excelsior Hotel
64 Foveaux Street, Surry Hills NSW
Phone: (02) 9240 3000
Website: merivale.com.au/elloco

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I Ate My Way Through dined as guests of El Loco