Topolabamba, Glasgow

Mexican food? Bring…it…on.

A special occasion calls for an equally special meal – and that doesn’t always mean spunking your fuckin’ life savings on overpriced cuisine at some arsey restaurant you can only afford to visit on the back of a lottery win or the untimely death of an estranged aunt.

No, sometimes special is as much about the vibe as it is about the prices. And everything we’d heard about Topolabamba seemed to suggest it would be right up our street.

Situated in a strip of funky restaurants in Glasgow’s St Vincent Street, the place looks inviting from outside, with its flickering logo and warm interior lighting. And once inside, we were shown to a spacious little booth near to a disabled toilet – a nice touch as the waiter was reacting to the fact one of us was on crutches.

A long and impressively stocked bar runs up the length of one wall, while more of those cool booths fill the rest of the space. In short, it’s a great looking restaurant, full of Mexican touches and those wicked, exposed bulbs you see more and more these days.

The menu is set up mostly in a tapas style, although there are burgers and burritos for those who don’t want to share.

I went for the Chipotle Honey Ribs, Chicken Tinga Tacos and Jalapeno Poppers. Mrs Gangsta chose Fish Tacos, Chicken Tinga Quesadilla and Callo Del Mar (scallops). For drinks we started with a Virgin Strawberry Frozen Margarita and a Passionfruit & Coconut Beergarita.

The drinks were great, although my beer sensors demanded I move on to first a pint of pleasant El Borracho and then a superb pint of East Coast IPA.

But we were here for the grub so let’s get to it. The Jalapeno Poppers were easily the best I’ve ever had – and I’ve had a lot. Nice and soft, rather than the usual crunchy effect, with tangy cheese filling and fresh breadcrumb coating, these motherfuckers hit the spot.

The ribs were nice enough, if a little too much on the charred side for my liking, and the tacos were absolutely perfect parcels of spicey chicken heaven.

The fish tacos were flawless, according to Mrs Gangsta, and her quesadilla also got top marks. Her scallops, while perfectly decent, weren’t the best she’d ever had.

We waited a while before deciding a dessert was in order (it was our anniversary, after all) and we shared a portion of the damn fine Churros with chocolate sauce.

The staff were all lovely, even the lady who screamed “NINE HUNDRED” pretty much every 30 seconds throughout the night. I wish I’d asked what that was code for, but I’m certain it won’t be anything remotely exciting.

And the best bit – the whole shebang came in at under £60. An absolute bargain for a proper Sunday night feast.

Want a taste of Mexico without heading for the border? Topolabamba is the shit.

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