Today in Waterloo, a new restaurant has opened up called “Taco Farm”. The name captures what they are intending to be pretty accurately. Taco = tacos (and other Mexican-inspired dishes), farm = fresh, local, etc. My partner (Jacquie) and I decided to give the place a whirl on its opening day – there has been ample buzz about it and we’ve been planning on going there since they only existed as a Twitter account. I’ve deduced that the restaurant appears to be the love child of the same people who own Uptown 21 (aka Nick and Nat’s) and Chainsaw. The former is known for it’s upscale, fresh, tasty food while the latter is known for drunk people and karaoke (although I’ve eaten there before and it’s decent).
The decor inside is really nice. They can cram a bunch of people in there, but it’s laid out in a way that is quite claustrophobic-friendly. Also, there’s a really nice graffiti piece on the back wall of the restaurant, which was very pleasing to my inner hip-hop head. And the kitchen is right there in the open – to me, that communicates a certain confidence towards the food – nothing to hide. Overall, a very nice atmosphere to enjoy some Mexican(ish) food.
Upon being seated, we were promptly offered water along with Taco Farm’s in-house made nachos and salsa. The freshness of both was super obvious and we ate every last bite of the complimentary starter. Our order took a while, but I’ll forgive them – it was opening day and the place was packed.
For our meal, we ordered lightly as we’re both cheap students. We ordered 3 tacos – a camarón (“Labrador” shrimp, creamy chipotle sauce, avocado), a chicken pibil (achiote-citrus banana leaf stewed chicken, pickled onion, guacamole), and a smoked pork belly (maple-habanero smoked belly, red beet crudito, “farm” sauce). Of the three, I preferred the pork belly, but Jacquie was all about the chicken. We were both pretty “meh” towards the shrimp one. Not much flavour and the avocado was way under-ripened. But both of the other ones were fantastic. The flavour of the chicken was spectacular and so was the pork belly – both melted in the mouth. We also shared the fried chicken dish. It was perfectly fried and the seasoning was nice. Also, they finished it with tequila, honey, and lime – this was delicious, but I thought it could have used more – I only got a couple bites where I could really taste these nice touches.
Overall, the food here is quite good. But I’ve got one issue – cost/portion size. Each taco was $4 and were freakishly small. The fried chicken was $10 and was riding solo aside from the bed of cilantro and lime it was served on. And of the “3 pieces” that the chicken includes, one was extremely small – I think it might have just been a part of a breast or something. To actually get full on tacos (if you’re hungry), I’d anticipate you’d need at least 5. Not the ideal situation for a hungry student.
To conclude. I’d like to go back there because the food is tasty, but I’m not down with forking over that much money when I’ll need to supplement my meal with more food once I get home. I’m sure they’ll be successful – they’re in the heart of Uptown Waterloo and are tied to some of the most respected culinary figures in the city. But if you’re cheap like me and love good food like me, I’d say hit up Holy Guacamole downtown Kitchener next time you want a taco.