COCONUTS HOT SPOT — East Coast Road just got a little more exciting with the debut of Mexican restaurant Comida Mexicana, the sister brand to our favorite Dempsey spot, Margarita’s. If the area is one of your familiar haunts, you’ll realize that the new dining concept sits in the space formerly occupied by the East Coast branch of Margarita’s.
Now revamped and spruced up with lively colors, the eatery serves up some of the crowd favorites from Margarita’s, as well as off-menu creations. Everything’s made from scratch here, with fresh ingredients imported from Mexico and the US tossed into sauces, salsas and marinades.
To start, sip on icy or frozen margaritas ($18/glass, $72/pitcher) in unusual flavors, such as tamarind, jalapeño and lime, or pink guava. We especially love the refreshing mint and cucumber one, which works well to wash down the spices and fried stuff. But if margaritas aren’t your preferred poison, you can always go for other respectable standards like sangrias ($18/glass, $72/pitcher) or mojitos ($18).
While you nurse your drink, snack on tortilla chips with dips like tangy salsas ($6-$7) or chile con queso ($16), a creamy mix of Monterey Jack and red cheddar that we couldn’t resist dipping everything else into. Continue on with appetizers such as enrollados ($18), a plate of chicken, Monterey Jack cheese, jalapeño and tomatoes wrapped in fried wheat tortillas, or the mash avocado sopes ($20), made of crunchy masa base piled with refried beans and guacamole.
The sharing continues with the carnitas ($32), a dish that comes with tortilla wraps, salsas, guacamole and pulled pork seasoned in spices like cinnamon. Basically, you assemble your own tacos, so you get to choose how much you want to stuff into each portion.
If you’re after the main meats, try the carne asada ($52) for slices of grain-fed beef marinated in brandy, tequila and orange juice, or the cornflake crusted baby snapper fillets ($32) served with fried corn kernels and a roasted tomatillo sauce.
Alternatively, the Mexican yucatan chicken ($28) is another great option, consisting of five chicken skewers coated in a spicy, flavorful glaze sitting atop salad and cabbage slaw in a fried tortilla bowl. Think of it as a (sorta) healthy taco salad.
Off-menu specials, should you be lucky enough to dine in while they’re on offer, include crab and avocado quesadillas ($28) and braised beef short ribs in chile ancho and coffee ($49/two).
Now we’ve come to our favorite part of the meal: Dessert. The salted caramel pina colada bread pudding ($15) is a must-try — you don’t have to share it if you don’t want to give up any part of the rum- and cream-soaked brioche mixed with pineapples and served with coconut ice cream, salted caramel sauce and toasted coconut shavings.
Those into chocolate and coffee should get the kahbrita ($14), a Mexican-style affogato with coconut ice cream dusted in dark chocolate powder, Kahlua, and a shot of espresso. Otherwise, indulge in a mug of hot chocolate mexicana ($8), a mix made of rich chocolate, warm milk and cinnamon that’s bound to lull you into a very, very satisfied sleep.
Comida Mexicana is at 404 East Coast Rd, 6440-8030. Tues-Sun 11.30am-3pm, 6pm-10pm.