FlautaIt was Claire’s birthday on Monday, but seeing as she is such a busy bee and her man Riley was writing his Board Exams on Wednesday, meant that we decided to only hold a bit of a celebration supper with them last night. She picked out a place called Panchos, a Mexican-themed restaurant situated in Observatory, Cape Town – a place that none of us have ever been to before, but by what I read about on the net, seemed to be quite a happening place.

So 18:30 arrived and Chantelle, Ryan and I bundled ourselves into Ryan’s car and jetted off (get it? He’s also got a Jetta) to those uncharted waters that is Obs. Even though the place was in Lower Main Street, somehow I still managed to get us slightly off target and we had to make a couple of U-turns before we finally found the place – no thanks to Ryan’s spotting skills, who managed to tag a car as Claire’s, even though it had a good two doors more!

On arrival we were welcomed to a bustling, vibrant and colourful little restaurant, where the walls are bright, anything goes as a table and the waiters have to be skilled at dodging thanks to the confined spaces. Panchos is as Mexican as they come (well, except for the fact that maybe there aren’t any Mexicans working there), and the place carries the look and feel of something you would expect to find in Mexico perfectly (your expectations based on what you see on American television obviously). The only thing I would have liked to see extra was that the waiters all have a pencilled in moustache for authenticity’s sake – Sanchez style! Oh and sombreros. I’d have liked to see more sombreros.

Anyway, we were shown to our table which was quite literally tucked away, round a corner, in some sort of detached little room which was already quite packed with other patrons, squeezed in and got stuck into the job of checking out the menu. Everyone opted for starters and while the others all opted for proper Mexican fair, my brother and I started a little on the safe side, going for some chips and chicken wings.

Main course on the other hand was a whole other story. A beef flauta was my pick for the evening, and when it arrived, my eyes nearly popped out of my head – a huge, deep-fried samoosa type thing, stuffed full of proper beef strips and other spicy goodies, topped with cheese, spices, guacamole and all things good. Chantelle went for the slightly larger version of mine with Chicken and almonds as a filling, but I’m afraid her eyes were just a little too big for her stomach! Even Ryan impressed me by going for something a little removed from his normal fair, him opting for a gigantic burrito thingie! Claire and Riley had something that looked like a samoosa as well, but looking at my plate of food, I couldn’t help but feel a little superior for the evening.

In any event, the main course for the evening was so filling for all of us that we all declined pudding in the end! And that almost never happens to Chantelle…

The waiters confused the heck out of us though – we had around four or five different people serve us throughout the evening, and it is quite a miracle that there were only two incorrect items on the bill in the end! Still, that aside, the waiters were all good, the food was particularly tasty and well-portioned, the ambience and vibe were excellent and the company just as good. We even managed to squeeze in a little embarrassment for Claire by belting out Happy Birthday in the loudest voices we could manage, encouraging the rest of the patrons surrounding us to join in! :)

All in all it was a great night out, so thanks to Claire, Riley, Ryan and Chantelle for making it such a good experience.