El Camino at The Cotton Factory is Manchester’s best kept Mexican secret

The Queso Fundido, a thick cheese sauce with red chilli and lightly spiced tortilla chips

If you’re after some top quality tacos then look no further than El Camino at The Cotton Factory, down at the recently opened Whitworth Locke aparthotel.

The Cotton Factory will host a rotating lineup of restaurants and independent chefs, starting with Mexican food specialists El Camino this summer.

Located on Princess Street, just a short distance from the Gay Village, the light, plant-filled conservatory main entrance is a sight to behold.

The Massa Fried Chicken Taco was a winner for us, with its crunch, spice and limey zing

The relaxed, welcoming vibe sets the mood perfectly, making you instantly feel right at home. While the restaurant can cater for 78 diners, it starts off quiet when we first arrive - although it quickly starts to fill up as the teatime crowd pile in.

El Camino has created a bespoke menu for their Cotton Factory incarnation, including authentic Mexican dishes as well as tacos, burritos, tequila cocktails and a whole load of Mexican beers.

We kick things off with some of their margaritas - which are strong and sweet, but not too sweet. The menu offers a solid range of plates, making the selection process that bit harder, although luckily our waitress knew what was what and her recommendations were absolutely spot on.

Their Tinga Chicken Burrito comes with rice, black beans, pico de gallo, shredded cabbage and lime aioli

If you’re going for a starter I would 100% recommend the Queso Fundido, which is a thick, creamy cheese sauce with red chilli and lightly spiced tortilla chips to dip, almost like a Mexican fondue (I could happily eat this every day for the rest of my life, which would probably be significantly shorter if I ate that much cheese).

Next it was taco time, we’d ordered the Baja Coley, Massa Fried Chicken and Charred Corn with feta, with the chicken offering taking the crown - the other two were still very decent, they just couldn’t compete with the crunch, spice and limey zing of their fried chicken.

Their Tinga Chicken Burrito with rice, black beans, pico de gallo, shredded cabbage and lime aioli was up next, and while it was lighter than your run-of-the-mill stodgy burrito, it felt like it was missing something flavour-wise.

The Beer Braised Ox Cheek Quesadilla, filled with gooey, melted cheese and a spicy kick, is definitely ‘the star of the show’

Any disappointment was quickly forgotten as the next dish landed on our table - the Beer Braised Ox Cheek Quesadilla, filled with gooey, melted cheese and chipotle aioli on the side.

The dish was recommended to us as ‘the star of the show’ and we weren’t disappointed, the strong red-meaty-flavour of the ox cheek combined with the oozing, flavoursome cheese and subtle spicy kick absolutely nails it. Just look at the photo, it doesn’t even begin to do it justice. It was incredible.

Don’t just take my word for it, El Camino at The Cotton Factory is located at Whitworth Locke, 74 Princess St, M1 6JD so head down and check it out for yourself - visit their website here for more info.

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