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Pistolera packs a punch for lunch, dinner

SHANGHAI is adding Mexican to its list of cuisines and new eateries have opened across the city in recent years.

The fare has ranged from fair to middling to traditional handmade offerings, and Shanghai's latest addition to the south-of-the-border culinary community is Pistolera in Pudong's Jinqiao area. It caters for those seeking a taste of high-quality traditional Mexican food.

Located in what was the Big Bamboo on Biyun Road, Pistolera is a collaboration between Big Bamboo owner Canadian Bryce Jenner and Mexican chef Leonardo Guerrero aka "Tabasco."

Preferring to go by "Tabasco," Guerrero has produced a menu with a few Tex Mex offerings to please those who want the comfort of a cheese-slathered corn chip. But he is also providing interesting selections inspired by his own culinary origins in northern Mexico.

According to Jenner, Tabasco has some skin in the game, which is always a good start for the chef of any restaurant.

Tabasco says the pair didn't want to take the easy path of dishing up the standard Americanized fare of nachos and burritos to a large foreign community based out in Jinqiao, but decided to build a brand known for good-quality authentic Mexican food.

"We wanted to do something that was good quality, using good ingredients and giving people a flavor of real Mexican food," Tabasco says.

Pistolera is proving a hit.

On a Thursday night we visited the 50-seat venue, the interior was packed and a large tree-lined deck outside looked an inviting place for an afternoon plate and a Margarita on a sultry summer day, or night.

The menu is ideal for people who want to pick at different snacks and plates.

It includes a range of burritos and enchiladas and traditional Mexican-style tacos. There's a hearty carne asada with refried beans, grilled marinated steak, topped with melted cheese and garnished with thinly sliced cabbage and avocado cream for 60 yuan (US$11.70).

Pistolera offers fine Mexican grill, with the mixed plate that includes dinosaur-proportioned ribs, chorizo sausage and grilled peppers. It comes with a choice of three sides and freshly made corn tortillas kept warm at the table in a small insulated pouch.

There is a healthy selection of beef, as Northern Mexico is known for its peppers and beef.

The hot chilli is what Tabasco is noted for in Shanghai, with the Mexican chef taking out several chilli cook-offs last year.

In October he conquered Shanghai, taking the judges and people's choice for best chilli. A month later he seared Suzhou (Jiangsu Province) with another chilli win. Having gained a reputation for his chilli, which he cooks for more than four hours, Tabasco has a lot of chilli offerings on the menu.

Address: 77 Biyun Rd, Jinqiao

Tel: 5030-4228


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