In spite of the popularity of Tex-Mex cuisine around the world, Hyderabad has very few restaurants serving this cuisine. I had tried Chillies (at InOrbit) some time back, and wasn’t particularly impressed with the food. I visited Novotel in May with a friend to try the mango desserts at Le Café. However, we were too hungry to be satisfied with just desserts. So, we decided to drop by La Cantina first.
La Cantina’s decor is appropriately enough Mexican themed. We quickly occupied a seat and proceeded to order Chicken Chipotle and Tenderloin Albondigas. While we were waiting for the food, we were served complimentary nachos with salsa and sour cream dips and jalapenos. Pickled jalapenos are among my favourite things in the world. So, even before our order had arrived, La Cantina had managed to make me really happy. Also, unlike in Le Café, unbottled water was available here.
First to arrive was the Chicken Chipotle. The crumb fried chickens were delicious, but given that they were marinated in chipotle chillies, I was expecting them to be hot. Somewhat disappointingly they turned out to be docile. The Albondigas were ground tenderloin dumplings in roasted tomato sauce. This dish was absolutely brilliant. The minced beef’s tantalizing flavour was amplified by the roasted tomato sauce to create an awesome combination.
Two dishes set us back by about a thousand bucks. The quantity was just enough to make us happy, while leaving plenty of space for the desserts. The waiters were polite, but could have been a bit more attentive. On the whole, La Cantina definitely made a great first impression.
Update: I went back to La Cantina on the 2nd Jan of 2016, and had a bit of a mixed bag. The menu has been refreshed and my old favourite – Albondigas, has been replaced with Tenderloin Medallion. The dish looked tempting, but the meat which was supposed to be served ‘medium-rare’ was well done, and tough to the point of being inedible. After fighting a frustrating battle with the chunk of meat, we gave up and ended up wasting over a third of the dish, which alone costs a thousand bucks. I had informed the waiter who had promised to get the chef. But, after ten minutes no one showed up, and they just cleaned the table. The other dishes that we ordered included Chips with Guacamole, Beer Braised Steak Burrito, Chicken Tacos, and Tres Leches. The Tacos and Burritos were pretty decent, and the Tres Leches was outstanding. However, the guacamole was a let down. It lacked the punch that I would expect in a good guacamole, and the texture was too creamy for my liking. Based on the recent experience, I am revising the rating from 8/10, to 7/10.