HVN at Casa Colombo is no more, now replaced by MEX, their take on traditional Mexican. Mex looks to offer Colombo’s only real Mexican dining experience, but they’ve got a ways to go both in terms of execution and theme. Here’s our first look.
We definitely think a good Mexican restaurant in Colombo is long overdue. So we were pretty excited to hear about MEX, Casa Colombo’s new Mexican restaurant which launched a few weeks back. It takes the spot of HVN, which we felt was somewhat underrated in the past. The new menu is almost entirely Mexican with staples like tacos, burritos and enchiladas. They have, however, kept some of HVN’s most popular dishes like the crab kottu and arrack calamari, which we think is a good call.
There are certain dishes which are relatively affordable, while other less substantial dishes are priced higher (example: Nachos for Rs. 1800++, which we don't quite understand). In any case, expect to pay around Rs. 2000 per head. MEX also goes with a step-by-step menu where you choose your base, filling and then salsa.
Besides Casa's usual bar menu, they’ve got a special tequila cocktail menu for MEX. We tried the the 3 Amigos (Rs. 450) and The Worm (Rs. 450) both of which were tiny and not very strong. These were cocktails for ants, just barely more than a shot. They were both okay, but these probably had like 5 ml of tequila so you’d need to have around four to feel anything. The other cocktails were about Rs. 700, and we hope they weren't the same size.
They’ve got a few taco options, but we opted to make our own taco (Rs. 1100) since it comes with three fillings and salsas, but in smaller quantities. This comes with soft tacos, but they do have an option for crispy tacos as well. The tortilla itself wasn’t as soft as we would have liked, with certain bits being stiffer and some tacos cracking as oppose to bending when folded.
For the three fillings we chose char-grilled chicken, carne de asada (beef) and Baja style crab meat (+ Rs. 175). Alas, none of the three were particularly impressive. The chicken was the best of the three with balanced seasoning and well cooked meat, but the beef and the crab meat were incredibly dry with the crab having an almost pol sambol like texture and overstated spices which dominated the flavour.
The pineapple and mango salsa were probably our favourite part of the tacos. It was sweet, lightly spicy and added a much needed contrast. The green tomato and jalapeño salsa lacked sweetness but had a good amount of heat coming through from the chillies.
The Chimichangas (Rs. 900) were the better of our two mains. For the filling, we went with the cochinita pibil which is a sort of spiced, lightly tangy pulled pork. This worked well with the crunchy, deep fried burrito. It didn’t have quite enough cheese but was otherwise fine.
We attempted the Ice Cream Churro (Rs. 690) for dessert. The ice cream was served in a churro cup which was chewy (or as Kinita calls it - a chewwo). The ice cream had also melted so the center of the churro was soggy making it difficult to eat.
We ran into slow service during our earlier review of HVN, and we had a repeat with MEX. Our entire meal took two hours, because our waiter disappeared. He was friendly but attentiveness was not the strong suit here.
HVN didn’t really have a theme per se, but it worked well with Casa’s chaotic and over-the-top ambience. Despite MEX being an entirely different restaurant, the look remains the same. There isn’t anything remotely Mexican about the place with baroque ceiling and the painting of the four rishis being retained, but at least there's a little tequila corner to gaze at.
If you are in the mood for some tacos, quesadilla and chimichangas, Mex has got your back.
MEX at Casa looks to offer Colombo’s only real Mexican dining experience, but they’ve got a ways to go both in terms of execution and theme. Here’s our first look.
Casa Colombo has a reputation for being more than just a bit over the top, and HVN is no different. They offer continental fusion cuisine and they do it quite well, but the service is slow, so be prepared to stick around for a while.