Restaurant Of The Week: Perron Mexican Appreciation Society, Johannesburg

I was really curious to try Perron Mexican Appreciation Society simply because it is so hard to find decent Mexican food anywhere outside Mexico (or the southern United States). I had heard that the owners of Perron were inspired by a Mexican restaurant in London, which didn’t bode well in my opinion, since the UK is not known as bastion of Mexican cuisine.

perron mexican appreciation society

Courtesy of Perron

But I was pleasantly surprised to find that Perron delivered. Not necessarily uber-authentic Mexican food, but damn tasty grub. I’d classify it as upscale, cosmopolitan Mexican, for lack of a better term. The menu offers classics with clever names that bear the owners’ unique stamp. For example the “Frida-digs-Diego” is a salad with avocado, eggs, mixed beans, cherry tomato, spring onions, rocket, spinach and coriander, topped with the signature house dressing. Then there’s the “peanut pollo mole,” chicken pieces infused with bay leaves and peppercorns in a peanut and chili mole, garnished with coriander, red onion and sour cream and served with rice. There’s also the “jenny chow” and “Mexican street porn” – but I’ll leave those to your imagination (and Google).

I opted for a number of “los mas pequenos” (small bites), including the popeye empanadas (spinach, three cheeses and tomato salsa), banana and bean empanadas, bacon quesadillas, sweet potato and corn fritters, and the slow-cooked pork taco. The popeye empanadas were a hit; the banana and bean were not bad, but not quite to my liking. The fritters, quesadillas and pork tacos all were devoured within minutes, they were that good. It was all washed down with one of the fruity drinks, in this case a tasty (if tart) cucumber-and-mint concoction. Naturally, there is a huge tequila menu here as well.

Karen Elowitt

Karen Elowitt

I must admit I was rather eager to get to dessert after I spotted churros on the menu shortly after I arrived. They were everything I hoped they’d be: hot, slightly crunchy, piled with cinnamon, and accompanied by delectable caramel and chocolate sauces. Other dessert choices include apple empanadas with lime crème fraiche, and a dark chocolate tart with a crunchy base topped with crème fraiche.

The décor at Perron is bright and festive, but not garish: the walls are painted varying shades of turquoise, pink, and grey, while the chairs alternate between pink and turquoise. Seating spills out onto the Oxford Road sidewalk, which is a nice place to sit on a warm afternoon and sip a margarita. The bar features quasi-Mexican tiles and funky lampshades that have a piñata-esque quality to them. If you go on a Friday or Saturday night, get there early; Perron occupies a rather small space but is very popular, so the limited seating fills up fast. Same with Dia de los Muertes, which naturally is a big deal at Perron.

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