Challenging preconceptions of the Mexican dining experience, Cantina Laredo tosses aside chilli-laden, sombrero-clad stereotypes and puts the food centre stage. Well-informed staff pay tribute to the care taken in the kitchen and the menu points out that the spicy mole sauce has over 16 ingredients, while guacamole is made to order at the table. Starters of tiger prawns wrapped in bacon with sweet potato sauce or sticky honey-basted ribs delight, but that mole sauce is strangely tame and promises of spice on the menu can at times prove to be empty. Tremendous drinks are where the kicks come from: the quality of the Tequila used in the superlative Margaritas is apparent and the chilli-laced hot chocolates are creamy and addictive. These flairs of energy fight against the strangely muted character of the whole outfit, which is still less cantina, more hotel breakfast buffet in appearance. With plenty of passion and commitment evident from front of house through to the kitchen, a more generous seasoning of fun could only make the whole experience more appetising.
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