India has come a long long way in many areas and especially when it comes to various International cuisines that have made inroads into the country. Back in the 90’s there weren’t as many options available as there are now. Established in 1994 Rodeo offering authentic Mexican and Tex Mex Food was one of it’s kind place at that time. Located in the heart of the city Connaught Place it had it’s own charm and popularity with a loyal clientele built over a period of time. However with not much innovation over time and service issues (I have personally experienced) Rodeo lost its early mover advantage.
Finally owners decided to give the place a much needed face lift along with some changes in the menu too by bringing in a London based Mexican Chef to add his touch. The place as told to us by owner Ahsan Shervani was closed down for almost 1.5 years for renovation work. The new place opened to public in March 2018 and is now called Rodeo Cantina and Kitchen. Not many would know that the term cantina means a bar in Spanish.
I visited Rodeo after years and years and memories of the interiors had gone somewhat faint but the new look came as a pleasant surprise to me. As we reach the location one look at the entrance and it certainly breathes freshness. The main door leading to the stairway which takes you to the restaurant on the upper level instantly reminds one of Mexican architecture which is known for it’s vibrance and energy. The vibrance is clearly reflected in the interiors, the lovely play of colors, the floral patterns on the walls with a complete wall depicting the day of the dead festival covering an entire wall. One thing I notice and instantly remember from the old Rodeo is a bar stool wrapped with real saddle. Miniature cowboy hats have been used too to adorn a part of the wall, in keeping with the theme. The restaurant has a seating capacity of approx 60 people with the place being divided into two sections.
Rodeo has ample day light and we choose to sit at the front section facing the inner circle thus giving us a view of the outside too. This section is switched over to a live band area on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The restaurant offers a relaxed casual dining experience. The section where we are seated has board games like ludo, chess, snakes and ladder etc as entertainment and fun while eating.
We are informed that Rodeo Cantina and Kitchen uses imported ingredients like Avacados, Mexican chillies and cheese. We start with a LIIT (Long Island Iced Tea) and an interesting tequila based cocktail along with a Salsa platter which consists of 5 different salsas served with hand cut corn tortilla chips. I just couldn’t resist digging into the salsa which had pineapple pieces. The Mexican fare we enjoyed after this platter will want you to head there right away. Spicy chicken Enchilada corn tortillas simmered in tomato salsa topped with cheese gratin sour cream crumbled cheese onion coriander served with refried beans. The beans remind me of how we relish the same in Indian cuisine. Don’t know how many people realise the commonality between Indian and Mexican food which for some unknown reason hasn’t done well in Delhi inspite of the similar taste profile.
Chicharron De Queso is crispy grilled gouda cheese served with fresh guacamole to dip in. Being a cheese lover i thoroughly enjoyed eating this dish.
Our next round of dishes included Duck Tostada braised Duck confit marinated in orange, roasted pineapple, chile habanero and refried pinto beans. Spicy Chicken Burrito chicken marinated in a blend of ancho, guajillo and herbs. Camarones Al Mojo two jumbo prawns marinated in lime garlic butter, pan seared accompanied with green rice and black beans. My favourite amongst these were the jumbo prawns. Made to perfection and flavoured well.
To cater to the sweet buds we had no second thought on choosing Vanilla tres leches cake, a three milk sponge cake brought in harmony with peaches, strawberries, pine nuts and rose petals. If you come away eating this you won’t know what you missed.
New interiors fresh look, new menu, touch of a new Mexican chef all of this calls for a drive down to Rodeo for a whole new experience.
Ratings (Out of 5)
Food: 4.0 | Ambience: 4.5 | Service: 4.0 | Overall: 4.0
Meal for Two: Rs 2000 | Wheel Chair Friendly: No | Credit Card: Yes | Alcohol: Yes
Address: A 12 Inner circle , Connaught Place , New Delhi 110001 Phone: 011-23713780 / 81
Disclaimer: This review was done on an invitation from the restaurant. Due judgement and care has been applied by the author to remain objective and unbiased in the review, but readers need to consider this review keeping this fact in mind