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Pico's got a tasty new look

The renovations at one of Bangkok's top Mexican restaurants came with a fresh chef

The newly refurbished Senor Pico has finally revealed the new look. After 20 years, one of Bangkok's earliest institutions of Mexican cuisine underwent its first major renovation with more comfortable seating, larger dance floor, higher roof, more sophisticated lighting and the staff's modern uniforms. More airy and spacious, the new Senor Pico might strike a more contemporary, glossy look, but the menu is still packed with hearty traditional Mexican dishes.

Did we mention the new chef? Fernando Reyes Barba might have spent a lot of time in the US, but he still is a true Mexican by heart. He has created a fair share of new, creative dishes with the usual ingredients but with authentic tastes.

For starters, he recommends empanadas de jaiba (Bt300), savoury and smooth crab turnovers served with peach pico de gallo and avocado. There's also guacamole en molcajete, guacamole made fresh tableside and served with fresh corn tortillas (Bt250), which is insatiably addictive.

Main courses in Mexican cuisine consist mostly of corn, flour, peppers and grilled meat, and with varied cooking methods and hefty use of herbs and spices, the dishes become quite diverse. Try the quesadillas - grilled flour tortillas stuffed with different fillings. Recommended are roasted mushroom (Bt350) and grilled cheese and jalapenos (Bt250) - both served with sour cream and guacamole. They are actually vegetarian selections, but are also hearty and filling.

The enchiladas here are finger-licking delicious. Not-to-be-missed are enchiladas de camarn (Bt450, with prawns flamed with pure-Agave tequila) and the enchiladas suizas de pollo (Bt350, with shredded chicken, roasted tomato and jalapeno salsa). Both dishes are topped with creamy chipotle sauce and aromatic cilantro.

Forget beef or chicken tacos. Get a taco baja (Bt350) with line-caught red snapper fried to crisp prefection, accompanied with jalapeno tartar sauce, chunky avocado and cilantro.

Grilled meat and seafood are the protein staples in Mexican cuisine. If at this point in the dinner your stomach cannot handle a chunky array of assorted meat, you can still get the Latin barbecue flair with char-grilled tiger prawns (Bt995). The sizeable prawns are rubbed with garlic, salt and bay leaf before being grilled. Salty, savoury and perfectly spicy, they don't need any additional seasoning.

You probably know enough to save some room for dessert. Recommended are the sinfully sweet coconut flan served with pineapple sabayon and pineapple crisp (Bt195), and the chocolate truffle cake chile ancho, served with whipping cream (Bt195).

Mexican cuisine is tied closely to the culture, social structure and popular traditions, the most important example of which is the use of mole for special occasions and holidays. For this reason and others, Mexican cuisine was added to Unesco's list of the world's "intangible cultural heritages". And every night the tequila is kept flowing at Senor Pico, with Latin music by Cuban band Fascination and an extensive drinks menu.

Party the Mexican ways with 50 choices of exotic, premium-quality tequila as well as classic and contemporary cocktails, including mojito, pina colada, Cosmopolitan and other international beverages formulated specifically for the restaurant.

BUEN APETITO!

>> Senor Pico Modern Mexican & Tequila Bar is at the first floor of Rembrandt Hotel on Sukhumvit soi 18.

>> It is open daily from 5pm till 1am.

>> Call (02) 261 7100 extension 7550; www.RembrandtBKK.com.


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