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September 24, 2017

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An upscale taste of Mexico mixes old with daring

MAYA, which opened its doors in 2008, is arguably the most upscale contemporary Mexican restaurant in town, yet diners never feel intimidated and this bustling venue still manages a warm, relaxed ambience.

Modern street art adorns the light-colored walls in the dining space while the open bar area provides a casual, chilled vibe for those who come for a nice after-work drink and delicious tacos.

Maya considers itself a contemporary restaurant inspired by authentic Mexican flavors yet with a touch of Californian style. It has a reputation for using fresh, quality ingredients in its delicious recipes.

The menu changes every six months, most recently in June. Alongside the new summer/autumn menu, Maya has also launched a vegan menu.

Founding partner Miguel Jonsson said this was done to keep up with the demands of the trend toward a more healthy lifestyle. Mexican food has great flavor and offers plenty to excite vegans, or those diners just looking for something different.

Newly arrived chef Jonathon Ynsense from Puebla, Mexico creates some eclectic and flexible dishes that work for the customers while pushing boundaries. The signature dishes remain, the Fish Wonton Taco, Beef Argentine and Beef Carne Asada, as well as Pork Belly Taco and Churros. These dishes have been on the menu since it opened and have stood the test of time.

On my recent visit, my Pork Belly Taco was absolutely delicious. The slow roasted pork belly mixed in mojo slaw, mango and chipotle sour cream created balanced flavors and textures. If you skip this taco, you’re missing out some serious enjoyment.

Most of the food here is rich with flavors yet light and refreshing on the palate, such as the Chunky Seabass Caribbean Ceviche mixed with coconut, passionfruit salsa, roasted cashews and pineapple (68 yuan).

My main was Beef Carne Asada that was the highlight of the night.

Chef said the dish is inspired by true Mexican flavors married with his own creativity. The mixture of dramatically reduced beef broth, pineapple pickles, and chimichurri sauce is served with the meat alongside roasted potato, watercress salad and avocado.

Ynsense was also proud to present the homemade mole here at Maya that is a traditional Mexican sauce containing 42 ingredients. Try the special sauce by ordering Chicken Mole taco.

Maya used to welcome a largely expatriate clientele but now sees many more local guests. This mix of guests makes the environment even more interesting.


Opening hours: 5pm-midnight (Monday-Friday); 11am-midnight (weekends)
Tel: 6289-6889
Address: No. 568 Julu Rd
Average price: 250 yuan


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