In the past decade, our beloved capital has gone from sparse Latin American fare to become a mecca for Mexican ranging from the real deal to wobbly Tex-Mex attempts.
Despite restaurants and bars being hit hard by pandemic lockdown measures, expat chef Colin Stevens, who last year opened Ekkamai smokehouse Ash Kickers, made a bold move to open a joint dedicated to his favorite cuisine. He calls it Tortilla Quemada, or “burnt tortilla.”
Although Stevens hails from Hawaii, many Mexican food fans will find his offerings unpretentious and autentico, something he credits years of travel learning from Mexico’s best cooks: the locals themselves.
“It’s those grandmother’s street food carts, stalls and hole-in-the-wall places that I look up to,” Stevens said.
That checks out with this passion project’s venue: a shophouse’s kitchen offering, for now, only delivery and takeaway through a sliding glass door. Only a single table and two chairs sit out front.
Much is made from scratch, according to Stevens, including the corn tortillas, smoked chipotle peppers and lacto-fermented chilis.
In chalkboard doodles are listed the dishes. You’ve got chips and salsa (THB130) and papas con chorizo (THB160) to tostadas (starting THB100), red enchiladas (starting THB220) and even hearty Yucatan-style breakfast plate Huevos Motulenos (THB220).
Customers can customize their dish by picking meats such as carne tinga, pork chorizo, grilled chicken, chicken chipotle and lamb barbacoa.
The impressive selection of nine come not just in levels of hotness but also their Mexican states of origin. It’s a chance to try “drunken” roasted tomato and beer, a refreshing pico de gallo and chunky-crispy jicama. Don’t underestimate the mango-pineapple habanero, the fiery sauce is potent enough to create a burning fire your running eyes and nose will seek to extinguish.
“With the ingredients and techniques used in the preparation of the meats, cheeses and salsas, you’d see that my menu is representing much more of Mexican cuisine than simple Tex-Mex,” Stevens said.
In the future, Stevens would like to expand the space for diners, “more like a cantina,” he said, and add drinks such as horchata, margaritas and craft beers.
Tortilla Quemada opens 11am to 9pm every day except Monday. It is located on Soi Sukhumvit 21/1 and can be reached from BTS Asok or MRT Sukhumvit. Delivery is via Line Man or 065-237-3307.
Soi Sukhumvit 21/1, Khlong Toei Nua, Watthana
11am – 9pm, daily (except Monday)
Delivery: Line Man
BTS Asoke / MRT Sukhumvit