Most people would have heard by now of the closing of Sizzler in Annerley, and the much anticipated opening of Taco Bell instead, being the first store in Australia for 12 years since their last departure. With the exciting public opening on Saturday, I was really pleased to go to the VIP pre opening launch with the ever popular Meatballs and Beef Cheeks.
Whilst I hadn't gone to Taco Bell when I went to America, it was everything that I would have imagined it to be.
Like all fast food joints, it was order via counter service, with the menu displayed on the overhead board. A major difference from the standard chains though, is the option of beers, margaritas and other alcohol which they also stock behind the counter. But of course, a selection of standard drinks was available at the drinks fountain situated away from the counter, where customers could help themselves to drinks.
Whilst not opting for beers, we did try some of the other drinks, specifically the Phoenix Organic Lemonade and Lemon Lime Bitters, sourced from New Zealand, and the Margaritas, made in house. The margaritas were really sharp with their strong lime tang, and proved to be a refreshing drink to start off with.
Near the entrance was a very gorgeous showcase of the food that was to come that evening. I was really impressed with the fresh locally sourced produce, which was a major focus of this new store, after having done considerable market research in Australia.
As is usual with most launch parties, the menu was set for the evening, and all we had to do was grab a seat and wait for the food to come out. No decisions or deliberation required on our part!
First up was the Stacked Nachos Supreme and Stacked Chips Supreme. The nachos came with tender pulled pork, whilst the chips came with some tasty ground beef. Toppings included some tangy and fresh salsa, green onion and also really smooth guacamole and sour cream. They both packed a really strong flavour hit, but between the two, I would have to say I liked the chips more as I loved the fluffy potato inside of the chips, which gave it the edge over the nachos.
The main event came next, with the Crunchy Taco Supreme and the Cheesy Gordita Crunch. The Crunchy Taco, as the name suggested, came in a hard crunchy shell. Inside was some spicy ground beef, salsa, and was topped with lettuce and cheese. The taco shell was really crunchy and fresh, apparently they are made in house. I found the ground meat to be quite spicy, so next time I try it out, I will definitely have to go with the mild option instead, but the salsa was really fresh and I loved the sharp bite of the cheese. The Cheesy Gordita Crunch offered a milder alternative for me, with a soft taco shell wrapped around the inner crunchy taco shell, it was a new experience for me. Inside, the ground meat was not spicy, there was a bit less salsa but a whole lot more cheese. I would have liked the outer soft shell to have been a little thinner though, as it tasted quite doughy and thick to me.
Last of the savoury dishes, but my all time favourite that night was the Crunchy Wrap Supreme. It consisted of a much thinner soft wrap, which was tightly bound together and grilled, filled with a big corn chip, some salsa, lettuce, ground beef and melty cheese. I quite liked the portion size, and the ease of eating it without having the fillings spill everywhere. The cheese also provided a sort of glue to the ground beef when melted, and I really enjoyed that too. I was also impressed with how the salad didn't seem to wilt too much despite being grilled in the wrap, making it quite a tasty package.
Desserts were soon served after. This included Churros and some Chocodillas. The churros were covered with sugar and cinnamon, a little too much for my liking, but I was able to easily remove some by lightly tapping it on the basket. The chocolate sauce was also more sugary than chocolatey. I did enjoy the chocodillas, which were thin pastries filled with chocolate and then toasted. The filling was far more chocolatey, and together with the warm soft taco shell, made for a sweet and tasty treat.
Last but not least, I found the bell at the exit really intriguing, and once rung we received considerable cheers from the staff, no doubt happy to hear that we had a great time.
Price Range: $10 - $20pp based on average menu prices