Genuine mexican fare

Local vibe

Genuine mexican fare

The Cantina....,where Mexican cuisine sparks the flame in you!
Tracy Mashinge-Jeche & Megan Kirkhoff

Picture by Tracy Mashinge-Jeche

Great food is what James and Natasha Hogg are well-known for in Buffalo City.

They have etched out gastronomic fame in the city with an eatery in Berea and two just a stone’s throw from each other at The Crossing, and yes, they’re all good!

A visit by the Buffalo City 360 team to the new Cantina & Craft Restaurant proved worthwhile as the Mexican vibe, food and décor spoke for itself.  

 

The opening

Opened two and half months ago, the Cantina & Craft restaurant developed as the owners were trying to predict the overseas and local restaurant trends. “We picked up that year 2016/17 was definitely going to be great for Mexican restaurants,” said co-owner, James Hogg.

 

About the Menu

The menu was well-researched and a lot of practising took place before the restaurant was opened.

In their menu, they try to steer away from the ‘Tex-Mex’ culture which everyone thinks is the real Mexican deal. The Cantina & Craft makes a strictly authentic Mexican dishes; they do their own soft-shell tacos and even make tortillas from scratch.

Besides craft beer, a massive part of the menu which has been trending for some time now, they also do craft gin. What makes the Cantina and Craft also stand out is that they have the largest variety of beers on tap in East London.

“We have 16 beers on tap which is not easy because we have to sell a keg in about six days so that it’s always fresh,” said Hogg. “ We also have 30 different tequilas and use 100 per cent agave reposado tequila for our cocktails,” he added.

 

Décor and Vibe

As we sat there, l remembered this quote, “Tonight I insist on eating authentic Mexican food while wearing a novelty sombrero”.

The Mexican sombreros and serapes were just classic and the décor is fuelled by a traditional and rustic style with a modern touch. Sitting there, your eyes won’t miss the earth tones such as browns, tans, and dull reds and pinks. The colours evoke the wood, the stone, the adobe dwellings and the dry, Mexican landscapes.

From the custom saloon wooden swinging doors to the light brown reclaimed barn siding walls at the bar and the glass exterior walls, the reflection for the love of Mexican culture, with a personal modern touch, is vivid.

So, to experience a bit of Mexicana in East London, take a short left to The Cantina & Craft because it’s worth it. Check them out on www.cantinaandcraft.co.za or follow them on Instagram @cantinaandcraft or visit their Facebook page Cantina & Craft.

A feast to delight

 

My colleague Tracy and I entered Cantina and Craft with keen appetites and expectancy.

James, owner and host of Cantina and Sanook, popped over for a chat and we ordered our drinks and starters.

Tracy tasted her frozen strawberry Margarita from her very large glass and I sipped on my cold, golden Craft Beer called The Cape Town Blonde. It originates from the Cape Brewing Company.  We both gave the thumbs up!  

Our Jalapeno Poppers stuffed with Queso Fresco, crumbed and wrapped in bacon and Salt and Pepper Squid with chipotle mayo was quickly brought to us.

We chomped into the poppers with gusto, happily dipping into the cooling lime and coriander mayo. The squid looked inviting and was crisp and delicious.

A feast on wooden platters and in bowls arrived and we proceeded to bite, dip, lick our lips and taste the various dishes.

The Finding Nemo (beer-battered white fish with crunchy slaw, diced tomatoes, guacamole and lime and coriander mayo nestled on soft Tacos) was light and soft and very enjoyable.

The Quesadillas stuffed with smoked chicken with cheese and cream cheese served with salsa and sour cream were full of flavour and the triangle shaped parcels were quickly eaten.

The Burritos with cheddar and Chili Con Carne were a favourite of mine.  It was a generous serving, tasty, filling and most satisfying.

We finished off with Churros, a popular Mexican dessert, fingers of golden brown rolled in cinnamon and sugar and accompanied with chocolate dunking sauce. This arrived hot and fresh and was a perfect finish to our Mexican feast.

The menu is authentic, fresh and well thought-out with prices to suit an array of budgets.

For a total experience celebrating good friends and family, I recommend booking early at Cantina & Craft. 

'I will give you my shoes' recipients with club representatives from front left Ms Monica Lahle (Mdantsane Athletics Clubs), Mr Mbuyiselo Dabi (Real Gijimas) and Mr Templeton Yoba (Overtakers Sports Club)

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