After 18 years in Wan Chai, Agave is finally branching out with a new bar and restaurant in Central

(From top left, clockwise) a Agave’s platter of tacos, nacho gringos and guacamole with tortilla chips, chalupas, and empanadas. Photos by Vicky Wong.

Agave is one of the city’s best spots for Mexican food — and it’s been that way for a long time. Since opening in Wan Chai in 2000, the dishes and drinks (including those “best damn margaritas in town” they’re always on about) have been bringing in a loyal customer base of locals for years.

It’s this same base that’s probably most excited about Agave 2.0, opening 18 years later in Central with an updated look (and logo).

Last night Coconuts went to Agave’s new location in Central to see how it stacks up to the original.

In a departure from the signature bright yellow interior in Agave’s Wan Chai location, the restaurant’s new Central location has opted for a more toned down look. With wooden panels, tiled floors, and dim lighting, this new look is, well, more sophisticated than that of its predecessor. We hear that one will also go through the same redesign soon.

The ceilings have also been covered with modern Mexican pop art that features the country’s idols like Frida Kahlo, singer Pedro Infante, actress Maria Felix, and the lead figure of the Mexican revolution Emiliano Zapata.

 

What’s the drinks situation?

So many margaritas. So many, in fact, that they have a separate standalone menu just for margaritas.

On top of imported Mexican and locally-branded beers, Agave also has an extensive selection of tequilas. Served in a snifter (a whisky glass), the tequilas here come with a shot of sangria as a chaser or the main ingredient of one of Agave’s many margaritas, squeezed Mexican lime juice and sugar syrup, served straight up or on the rocks without salt.

The Serrano al Melon Margarita, made up of Serrano Chili-infused Blanco tequila, Midori melon liquor, lime juice and serrano chilli, and the Sangrita Margarita (Reposada tequila, sangrita and Mexican lime juice), are solid choices.

 

But what about the food?

We tried the Nacho Gringos, a tower of nachos served with cheddar cheese, jalapeños, and a huge dollop of sour cream. The guacamole was served with a bit of tomato, onion, and cilantro, and had a pleasant spice to it.

For us, the most interesting dish on the appetizer menu was Ensalada de Nopal, a roasted cactus salad served with avocado, tomato, red onion, ranchero cheese, cilantro, olive oil, and lime juice. If you’re wondering what cactus is like…well, it’s not unlike okra. A bit of crunch, a bit of slime. In a nice way.

Also on the menu: chalupas, which they serve with fresh tomatillo salsa and a filling of your choice; a hot dog with a sausage wrapped in bacon (muy auténtico!), and empanadas or deep fried corn dumplings (again, you choose the filling) and a side of tomatillo salsa.

But the real stars of the evening? Tacos. There was the rajas y calabazas, filled with roasted New Mexico pepper with zucchini, pumpkin, onion, corn and fresh tomato salsa, and the aguacate, served with avocado, tomato salsa, queso fresco, pickled red onions and cilantro.

Agave also does pescada (fish tacos) made of deep-fried, beer-battered seabass, cabbage, green onion, tomato salsa, and chipotle mayo. But the carne asada stood out above them all — grilled ribeye, grilled green onion, avocado, cilantro, and tomato salsa. So good.

And of course, dessert. We tried the churros with a side of caramel sauce. Good stuff, but we already peaked with those tacos.

Address: G/F, 26 Hollywood Road, Central
Reservations: +852 2523 1988
Opening times: Monday to Sunday, 11:30am-1:30pm
More details: Facebook page

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