Zona Rosa, Brighton

I write this in the middle of a full blown Mexican food coma! I have always had a mixed relationship with Mexican food, it is one of the foods that I really have to be craving to have. So when I was invited to go to Zona Rosa I was excited to try another restaurant with another menu of Mexican cuisine. 

The restaurant and menu 

Tucked away in Kemptown Zona Rosa is a bright and colourful restaurant; with exposed brick and bright colours the atmosphere is welcoming and fun. We were served by one of the owners, Carlo who was a breath of fresh air; continually attentive and open to all questions on the menu and food. 

The menu was simply laid out and full of things that looked delicious. Unfortunately, they had run out of the ceviche and prawns but the rest of the menu was set out clearly. With individual starters, main dishes and selection of menus to choose from.

The Starter

I chose nachos– Cactus, yellow corn, chipotle and guajillo tortilla chips. freshly made Guacamole, Pico de gallo, sour cream, mature cheese and jalapeno. The Chipotle and guajillo tortilla chips were something I haven't had before and they were lovely; thin and crisp but full of flavour, accompanied with the freshly made pico de gallo and guacamole it was a fresh way to start the meal; although a little on the big side for a starter.

Henry went for the Mollette – Rustic bread, refried black beans cooked with avocado leaf and cascabel chilli, melted mature cheddar, Pico de gallo. It was new to both of us but an unexpected surprise. The bread, although not toasted as I thought, was fresh and light with creamy smooth refried beans and fresh pico de gallo.

The main 

For main I went for one of the 'bowl' options, essentially a burrito without the tortilla; I could have had this with a range of options including pork, steak and a tofu option. I went for the local caught battered fish option; today the option was Cod. 

Another large portion that was served with coriander rice, pico de gallo, beans and grated cheese; all of these were topped with beautifully cooked fresh cod. With a thin and crisp batter filled with flaky and flavoursome cod, the fish really was the star of the dish. I was hoping for some refried beans but the beans served with the melted cheese added a different texture to the dish. Again the pico do Gallo was made with fresh ingredients, this time with a touch more chilli. 

Henry went for a cheese and chorizo quesadilla. Filled with strong cheese, diced chorizo and small squares of fried potatoes and served with pico de gallo and soured cream on the side. 

The Dessert 

For dessert, we decided to try the special. Banana and lime chimichanga. A chimichanga is essentially a deep fried burrito, however, at Zona Rosa they have put a new twist on it by turning it into a sweet treat. 

The crispy outside combined with the soft warm banana and creamy cold ice cream was a beautiful mix of flavours and textures, the addition of the lime zest in the filling added a sharpness to cut through the sweet and an added texture too. All served with a sprinkling of icing sugar, it was definitely the highlight of the meal for me.

The allergies 

Although all aspects of the dishes weren't clearly stated our waiter was attentive and knowledgeable about all of the dishes. The selection of cutlery on the table is also a great touch for allergy sufferers and sharing dishes, making sure you can share food without cross contamination.

We finished this meal quite late so had to opt out of their in-house roasted coffee but I will definitely be heading back during the day for their coffee and casual cafe atmosphere.

Zona Rosa has since shut down however, if you are looking for mexican food in Brighton then head to local business Tlaloc or chain restaurant Wahaca

I was invited to The Coal shed in exchange for a review, but all views are my own (or occasionally Henry's)

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