My last blog entry celebrated how much Brno’s food scene has developed in recent years, especially in terms of the representation of international cuisines. And yet it somehow slipped my mind that one of my favorite cuisines, Mexican, has long been missing… at least in an authentic form.
Oddly enough, this trend seems to have afflicted not only in the Czech Republic but much of Europe, as well. Hell, I don’t think you could have found a decent taquería even in Spain until recently. Perhaps I had simply given up hope.
And so it was with great delight that I stumbled upon Bistro Bastardo in the KB passage off of náměstí Svobody. A place once noteworthy only for having an ATM now hosts an Indian restaurant, hookah cafe, beer shop, cupcake-árna, and taquería.
Bistro Bastardonám. Svobody 92/21Facebook
Bistro Bastardo offers a fairly simple menu focused on tacos, burritos, tortas and quesadillas with a few extra items. For my money, it’s all about the tacos and burritos, both of which come in four varieties – barbacoa (shredded beef), al pastor (spicy marinated pork), adobo pollo (grilled adobo chicken), and vegetarian. In addition to the meat, the corn tortilla tacos are filled with onion, fresh cilantro, cheese and choice of salsa (pico de gallo, red, green, or haban͂ero).
You can get just a single taco or an order of three. All are tasty, hitting all the right flavor notes I expect from this humble yet extremely satisfying food—umami from the succulent meat, toasted spices such as cumin, and smoky and/or spicy chili cut through by the brightness and tang of the cilantro, onion and salsa. A symphony of flavors in the palm of your hand.
The same is true for the burritos, which offer a heartier option if you’re feeling more peckish. With the addition of rice, beans and sour cream, it’s an entire meal wrapped in a flour tortilla.
Among the other menu options, I tried a torta milanesa, chorizo quesadilla and sopa Azteca. Tortas are Mexican-style sandwiches filled with a choice of meat, bean spread, lettuce, onion, avocado, cheese and chipotle mayo. The milanesa features a breaded and fried slice of beef, and it was rather underwhelming, mainly due to being too dry, what with its combination of breading, bread and bean spread.
The quesadilla was more appealing, though I would love to see the ubiquitous large round slices of chorizo be replaced with grilled fresh chorizo. Finally, the sopa Azteca was a pleasant surprise. This tangy, slightly smoky tomato soup is served with crispy corn tortilla chips, molten cheese, sour cream and avocado slices. It’s great as a starter or an accompaniment to your tacos.
All in all, Bistro Bastardo is a most welcome addition to the Brno food scene. Much like the food it serves, this little spot looks rather humble and unassuming but packs a punch.