Chefs Brody Jenkins and Josh Barlow originally bonded over their love for two things: burgers and tacos. And while they first came together to focus on the former (launching Jo Bro’s and slinging epic burgers from their store in Titirangi and food truck), recently, the clever culinary duo have been turning their attention to their other love with Loco Bro’s Taqueria. Here, they started by serving authentic Mexican tacos from a Titirangi taqueria, and have just opened a second outpost in Commercial Bay, bringing their famously flavoursome fare to the inner city.
“When we first started thinking about Loco Bro’s, it was pretty hard to come by really good Mexican food in Auckland,” Jenkins tells me, “so our mission was clear: to create an authentic Mexican kitchen that not only served incredible food but also paid deep respect to the rich culture, history and culinary traditions of Mexico.” Jenkins continues, “We want to serve the kind of food you would find on the streets of Mexico and the off-the-beaten-track spots in the middle of nowhere.”
As such, the delicious offering at Loco Bro’s pays homage to true Central American flavours and ingredients, where everything is made from scratch and the authentic essence of Mexican cuisine shines through in every bite — from moreish, smoky notes to zesty citrus and just the right amount of spice.
“We offer authentic corn tortillas made by a Mexican father-son duo here in Auckland who own ’Salsa Roja,’ but we also have flour tortillas for those that prefer a soft chewy bite,” Jenkins says, before continuing, “and we’ve made the ordering process as simple as possible: choose your tortilla, choose your flavour, choose your sides, choose your drinks and enjoy.”
At Loco Bro’s, the signature tacos are the Beef & Lamb Birria, which sees whole beef briskets and lamb ribs marinated in housemade birria overnight, then braised for up to five hours in beef and lamb stock that has been made from scratch (a two-day process) as well as guajillo and ancho chillis, cinnamon and whole oranges. The meat is then pulled and served to order. Other tasty taco options include chicken escalada, pork carnitas, Mexican fried chicken, chilli con carne and crispy fish. Hungry punters will also find quesadillas, burritos and rice bowls, served with the same topping options.
Where sides are concerned, the Chilaquiles is Loco Bro’s’ take on nachos and sees fresh tortilla chips tossed in tomatillo and roja salsa, piled with crema, cotija cheese, pickled onions the additional option of a meat topping, while the Mexican Fried Chicken packs a flavoursome punch. As far as we’re concerned, the Loaded Baked Potato is sure to become a fast favourite, served with cotija cheese, crema and jalapeños.
As for drinks, the highlight is undoubtedly the housemade Agua Frescas, a thirst-quencher that Jenkins assures me is a staple in Mexico. A mixture of fresh fruit puree, soda, lime and fresh mint on ice, these super refreshing and zesty drinks are designed to help wash down the rich and spicy tacos, with Loco Bro’s offering flavours like cucumber and lime, mango and pineapple, and guava and passionfruit.
Jenkins also informs me that there will be a rotating menu of tasty seasonal specials throughout the year, like grilled corn esquites, summer ceviche or barbacoa lamb shanks in winter. There is also a Loco Bro’s food truck available for catering and public and private events.
Located in the bustling food court of Commercial Bay, Loco Bro’s second outpost is sure to draw fans for its fresh, flavourful food and simple approach. With a tagline that encourages us to ‘Eat Real Mexican’, this cool new spot is easy and delicious and is somewhere that every inner city foodie should have on their radar.
Sunday to Wednesday, 11am — 8pm
Thursday to Saturday, 11am — 9pm
Loco Bro's Taqueria
Level 2, 7 Queen Street
021 247 6213