Spruce Taqueria

The quest to find decent and affordable Mexican food in Singapore is an elusive one. So when we found out that a new Mexican joint was open, we gamely soldiered on for a taste. An offshoot of Spruce, this humble little taco shack is a welcome change with its entirely alfresco setting and reasonable prices. Expect no pretenses or fancy décor (there is none), just five tables and quick, casual food in a park. We ordered up some chips and guacamole and grilled snapper and pork carnitas tacos at the counter, then settled into our seats. Our pork carnitas got high marks for tenderness but a consistent lack of seasoning in both the pork and snapper left us disappointed. As did the tortillas, which fell apart too easily and could have benefitted from some time on the grill. The chips, while crispy, were a little on the greasy side. But we didn’t mind a touch when dunking them into the thick and creamy guacamole, which could have used more lime juice. Our beef tongue quesadilla set, which came with chips, salsa and a drink, arrived soon after. The salsa, specked with bits of red onion, jalapenos and coriander, was just tart enough and even had a nice kick that left our tongues tingling. That was easily remedied by a big gulp of their refreshing watermelon and lime aqua fresca. But the real star was the beef tongue quesadilla. The tortilla had a crisp, dark and handsome exterior which enveloped juicy cubes of beef tongue as it oozed luscious melted cheese. Despite some minor missteps, they’re definitely in a rare class of fresh, authentic tasting Mexican food. The best part: We almost felt like we were back in school, with bright red trays and plastic plates and cutlery. Although we don’t remember canteen food ever tasting quite this good.

Have you tried the Beef Tongue Quesadilla Set? It’s one of I-S Magazine’s 50 things to eat in Singapore before you die (2010).