Disappointment at Monster Mex

I had high hopes for Monster Mex on Edinburgh’s Thistle St when I visted for dinner last Friday evening. The concept of Monster Mash (now serving in two location in Edinburgh one opposite Monster Mex) being translated to tex mex food seemed an enticing one. However I left Monster Mex throroughly disappointed and completely let down by the good value, good food philosophy that this establishment is supposedly renowned for.

Monster Mex, as expected, is no luxury restaurant. It’s got a cafe/diner feel to it with cheap wooden tables and chairs, many of which don’t match. It’s a compact affair that seats few people, with country and western music playing through the speakers. Just one server, who was pleasant enough, works the tables. This aspect, for me, actually worked: Monster Mex was a laid back place where I thought enjoying a few beers with nachos and enchiladas would be the perfect start to an evening in Edinburgh.

Monster Mex, Edinburgh Interior of  Monster Mex, Edinburgh

Well, with a blink of an eye and almost as soon as I had ordered nachos with chili (¬£4.25) and my dining companion nachos with guacamole (¬£3.30) for starters they arrived on two basic white plates with a rectangular dish in its centre. I’m pretty sure the chili must have been quickly warmed up (probably in a microwave), dumped into the dish and then brought to our table in record time. When I eat nachos I believe they should be a feast of cheese, guacamole, salsa, etc. Not with the starters at Monster Mex. These additional dishes are 80p extra. So to have had salsa, guacamole and cheese with my nachos with chili would have cost an extra ¬£2.40. The nachos were cheap, the chili was unexciting and both of us were bored after about four nachos. For main courses Monster Mex do serve nachos grande with the accompaniments for ¬£7.45, although to get some meat with this (chicken) will cost you an extra ¬£1.50. At ¬£8.95 they have suddenly turned a dish of nachos into a semi expensive main. After eating at the nearby Tijuana Yacht club I remember their nachos being so much better, and devoid of having to pay all these surcharges, for a price not too different.

Guacamole and Nacho chips at Monster Mex, Edinburgh Monster Chili at Monster Mex, Edinburgh

You certainly couldn’t fault Monster Mex’s speed of service as the main course of chicken enchiladas (¬£8.95) with rice and re-fried beans came out as soon as we’d finally had enough of the nachos. A small helping of rice that seemed stuck together and re-fried beans that had lost their flavour were on the white plate, while the rectangular dish held what looked like a lasagna. However lurking under the cheese topping were two enchiladas swimming in a tomato sauce containing real pieces of tomato. Again at ¬£8.95 the dish wasn’t ‘dirt cheap’ and to me seemed totally over priced for what it was. The menu says the enchiladas are oven baked, which I guess they could have been, although it seemed more like a microwave meal to me. The menu does say the enchiladas are ‘drenched’ in tomato sauce and this is no exaggeration. All you could taste was the tomato tang of the sauce, which led to a one sided dish that provided little enjoyment. The enchiladas didn’t contain generous amounts of chicken and I though it a poor dish, notable only for how strong and how much tomato sauce it contained.

Chicken Enchilada at Monster Mex, Edinburgh

The highlights of the meal were two bottles of Dos Equis at £2.80 (they also had Coroner and Bud or wine) and a large shot of tequila (£1.50) served with obligatory salt shaker and lime.

Maybe there are some gem like dishes on the Monster Mex menu e.g hot dogs or the beef fajitas at ¬£11.95. I won’t be back to find out though. Paying ¬£8.95 for enchiladas this poor and basic, when other Mexican restaurants would give you far better, doesn’t seem a great way to spend my cash. The lunch time menu I saw offered two courses for ¬£4.95 and I would say that seemed a more sensible pricing for food like this.

Overall, the simplicity of Monster Mash does not seem to translate well to Monster Mex. For the price of the dishes I failed to see any good value or good food offered here - I’m no chef but I can, and have, cooked better food than this (infact many supermarket ready meals would compete well with Monster Mex).

3 Responses to “Disappointment at Monster Mex”

  1. I was sorry to read your comments on your recent dining experience at Monster Mex in Thistle St. We strive to deliver good value food and great service in a fun environent. On this occassion we clearly failed to match your expectations. I would very much like to restore your faith in our brand and would like to invite you back as our guest. Could drop me an email and I will send you out a complimentary invitation. Thank you for your feedback as we need to know how we are doing.
    Best wishes

    Terry Soe
    Monster Mex Cafe
    Monster Mash CAfe

  2. I had a family meal there last night (Sunday 12 Nov 06) and completely agree with this review. It’s really disappointing to go out and pay for a meal that you know you could cook much better yourself. Vegetarian enchiladas did look like microwaved lasagna. Instead of refried beans (with my DIY taco) I was given baked beans as they’d run out! They didn’t even ask if this substitution would be ok. They had also run out of chilli (in a Mexican! at 7.30pm!). Iceberg lettuce was unfresh, warm and floppy, and the grated cheese consisted of a few tiny dried out strands in a miniature pot. The salsa and guacamole were good though, and overall the whole meal was at least cheap. However, we could not recommend this restaurant based on our experience last night. Which is a shame because it’s quite a cute place with friendly staff.

  3. Hi just taken over monster mex. Cleaned in it (two weeks) redecorated and threw out all the junk. Food was as your bloggers described all tinned and junk.Have opened a New Mexican Restaurant called Tex Mex II handmade food and fresh ingredients loads of garlic and cilantro (coriander) come and try us we promis you wont be disappointed also chek out our website real food being served to real customers

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