Ahh! Here we are : Tex-Mex and Mexican Food. Many renowned critics often dismiss Mexican food as being unsophisticated and banal; and quite frankly, they’re probably right. Despite the herds of schmos who ululate at the thought of a sloppy buritto or a cheese loaded enchillada, I have never understood the fascination for food that could well have been designed for a toothless chimpanzee. The content of most burritos, for example, is an amorphous mass of puree (refried beans, guacamole etc), which seems to defy all possible civilised eating norms.
That said, I put my prejudices aside and ventured into Uba Tuba on a Saturday evening. I’m instantly suspicious that the manager seems to find my attempts at small talk so overbearingly funny: “are you sure that jug of water is not going to kill me, Sir?” I enquire earnestly. I come to the conclusion that I need whatever artificial high this long-haired chappy has been experimenting with, because in the cold-light of day, I have less humour and charisma than an undertaker at a Quakers’ Meeting.
He’s still laughing while he serves me the Agua de Tamarindo (Tamarind Water). My dining companions were repulsed by the taste, but in my eyes, it was a delightfully different and potent concoction, sweet, sour and slightly acidic all at once. The resemblance to Imli Pani was uncanny too.
The main dish arrived and I revelled in the most unsophisticated dish of them all: a big stir fry veggie burrito. I did try eat it, but most of my time was spent hoovering the contents off my freshly ironed white shirt. In fairness, it did taste fresh, with bell peppers and zucchini, a slightly different but welcome twist for burrito fillings.
I did notice a number of date nights going on around me. You know I really do feel one must have breached a certain “comfort zone” in a relationship because ingesting burritos on a Saturday Night is about as glamorous as watching German Pornography with your chosen one. In fairness though, they have done their best to retain an intimate al fresco eating experience: wind-breakers, dim lighting and cutesy tables galore make for a pleasant atmosphere.
The show is nearly over when the Tres Leches Cake arrives, a generic piece of window shop cake with an effluvium of condensed milk on the plate. Alas, it’s not really that bad, I managed to finish it – at least.
If you enjoy this kind of Mexican food, if your life was left with a deep void after Sancho’s shut shop in Pali Hill or if you enjoy feeling like the new Russell Peters in front of the gregarious manager, you would find Uba Tuba a perfectly acceptable hang-out. Sadly I don’t wake up dreaming of another burrito…