On the busy Durban Road of Mowbray, somewhat secluded behind trellis work and bright lights, is the Mexican Mecca of the Fat Cactus. We arranged a dinner there, all at the last moment. Fortunately, Bon Jovi was playing live in Cape Town, so the restaurants were fairly empty throughout the city, so we secured a table. Still, there was a very distinct vibe, and only a few tables to spare.
The waitresses are relaxed in their approach and attire, so we waited a while for service, but it was sort of in keeping with the ambience.
We started with a strawberry and lime margarita jug, which was not on the menu, but was recommended by our waitress. It was very delicious and refreshing – the perfect chiller for a spicy Mexican meal. The drinks menu includes a lot of firm favourites as well as plenty of Mexican variety for an authentic experience. This includes the all-important tequilas (including La Muerte and Don Julio Reposado). I will definitely be trying The Iceberg next – a 500 ml draught topped with a frozen lime iceberg!
For starters, none of us could look further than the chilli poppers; mammoth jalapenos, stuffed with cheese, battered and deep-fried. They were spicy but not too hot, so chilli-lovers could definitely ask for a side-order of fresh chopped chillies or a splash of hot sauce. The sweet potato puffers with guacamole, salsa and bean dips also sound awesome, as do the calamari, cactus wings (barbeque, buffalo or peri-peri chicken wings with dips) and chimichangas (prawn and vegetable spring rolls).
The mains include a range of burgers, quesadillas, nachos and snack platters. We had a huge helping of chicken nachos, which were great to share after our starters, but those with larger appetites can enjoy one to themselves. There were quite a few specials chalked up on the board, which included steaks and line fish for the more traditional diners.
Due to the restaurant’s being right on Durban Road and having open doors, we encountered one hefty cockroach strolling under the tables. This having been said, everything else was clean and made for an all-round fun evening (even if we missed Bon Jovi).
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