Agave Central | Cheap and cheerful Mexican food
Mexican food is such a comfort food staple. It somehow manages to be both refreshing and satisfying at the same time. Any time a new Mexican opening is announced, it seems like every food lover I know becomes abuzz with excitement.
“Have you heard...?”
“When should we go…?”
“I can’t wait to…”
Can anyone resist the charms of a cuisine where cheese, avocado, corn, and juicy meat feature heavily?
Of course this being Hong Kong, often the main complaint about a place is that it’s overpriced and not that good. For this city’s discerning diners, if it’s not good people won’t go, and quite a few Mexican spots have shut over the past few years. So I’m a bit embarrassed to say that I didn’t have high hopes when I walked past Agave Central the first time. It was small and unassuming...and empty (note: it had just opened...it’s buzzing now!). I didn’t even add it to my list of new places to try.
But oh what a mistake that was.
Agave Central is easily one of my favourite openings of the year. I’m a comfort food girl at heart, and this spot is ridiculously satisfying with fresh flavours, generous portions, and affordable prices.
We started with guacamole and chips ($108); Ensalada de Nopal (aka cactus salad, $148); cheese, chorizo, and veggie empanadas ($68 for four); and chalupas ($68 for four). The guac was flavourful and refreshing, the cactus salad was unique, the empanadas were deep fried but not greasy, and the chalupas were so good I wanted to hoard a whole plate for myself. If I was only going to get one starter, I’d choose the Oaxaca cheese empanadas or the chicken chalupas. They were both great examples of comfort food: flavourful, sizeable, and absolutely packed with filling.
I guess the Nachos Gringos ($178) would technically also count as a starter but they were MASSIVE. The chips were thin, and remained mostly crisp even though they were topped with a crazy amount of toppings. This would be a good snack for maybe up to six people, or an indulgent treat for two.
As good as everything was so far, it’s the tacos that I’m still thinking about. I probably sound like a broken record at this point, but it’s hard to find quality tacos at such affordable prices. Everything from the house made thin corn tortillas to the abundance of filling made our table incredibly happy. We tried the ribeye ($108 for 3), battered seabass ($98), and avocado ($78), and I’d come back for any of them or the seven options I didn’t sample.
We finished our meal with Churros and dulce de leche ($68). These managed to be crunchy yet soft, and you could taste the egg-y batter even underneath all the cinnamon sugar.
Usually I’m averse to restaurants too far from an MTR station, but Agave Central is worth the cab ride or trek uphill. They also have over 100 types of tequila, and mix up some great margaritas (and are open until 4am). I guess their Wan Chai location has been around for nearly 20 years for a reason! And for those curious about their preferred hot sauces, each table comes with a bottle of Tapatio and Tabasco.
G/F, 26 Hollywood Road, Central, 2523 1988
*By invitation, for Foodie