Decked in the iconic green, white and red of the Mexican flag, Coyote is a fresh new Tex-Mex concept in Phoenix Park introduced by the same people behind Spruce.
Coyote is helmed by Chef Jihardi Amin, who is uprising in the culinary scene of Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore. Being formerly mentored by two renowned Mexican chefs, he now combines his familiarity with local and exotic flavours to produce Mexican food with Asian-styled innovation.
Coyote occupies the spot that formerly belonged to Spruce. Fans of the American brunch joint may resent the change, but as a lover of Mexican cuisine and advocate for new concepts, I was quite pleased with the rather adventurous switch.
Coyote’s location is very, very spacious, as all who’ve previously visited Spruce will know. I fancy Phoenix Park is a bit like Dempsey Hill, except more secluded and serene.
The restaurant boasts both an indoor semi-fine dining area as well as a more breezy al fresco area surrounded by lush greenery. I really like this duality because it means you make what you will of your dining experience at Coyote — it can be as casual or formal as you want.
If you want to really elevate your meal at Coyote, you can choose to have your Mexican food in the more intimate setting of their private dining room. I think this is the perfect place to throw a small, but cute party!
If you’re looking for more reasons to visit Coyote, why not bent on the fact that it’s super children-friendly? Within Coyote’s large confines is an outdoor playground which will keep energetic children occupied while you enjoy your Mexican nosh.
While the outdoor playground is a permanent fixture, Coyote also brings a huge bouncy castle to life on weekends to keep the kiddos busy.
As Coyote is relatively new, we attended its launch party and had a real swell time.
We started the night with Coyote’s signature The Original Margarita ($15). It was executed nicely, its strong kick of tequila enhanced by the citrus flavours of lime juice and triple sec.
We also had a Mojito ($17), which was quite heavy in the mint department, but also bore a good amount of rum. Coyote’s cocktails are not for the weak.
The food was served canapé style for the night, so it might differ from what you’d get if you actually ordered these items on a regular night. First up was the Avocado Bruschetta ($16), a simple but faultless pairing of toasted baguette, well-seasoned guacamole and pico de gallo.
I love avocado, so this was a great nibble. The slight tanginess of the avocado salsa really piqued my appetite. I might have had three of these to start. Avocado is healthy so you can’t fault me, okay?
The Camerones Ceviche ($20), also a starter, is like a Mexican play on shrimp cocktail. The shrimp was fresh and quite flavourful, being marinated in zesty lime juice, and tossed with capsicum and jalapenos.
The capsicum flavour is rather distinct in this one. If you’re a salsa lover, I think you’ll enjoy this.
Coyote’s Tequila Wings ($17) are really mind-blowing. I got the drumstick, prepared in a manner resembling a lollipop, with all the meat on the bottom pushed upwards, which made it really easy to eat. The chicken was beautifully crisp and crunchy, and slathered in a piquant, sweet-yet-spicy tequila sauce.
This is a better, kickass version of Thai Sweet Chilli Sauce and crispy chicken wings. So, so good.
To go with our starters, we also had the Coyote Nachos ($15) that came with a spread of mixed cheese, cheese sauce, jalapenos, black olives, sour cream and guacamole.
It went without saying that their nachos couldn’t possibly be bad, especially not with such varied toppings to savour each corn chip with. However, I did feel like $15 was a bit on the steep side for a bowl of chips and dip.
For mains, we had an extensive line of Coyote’s Tacos and Quesadillas (Veggie $15, Chicken $17, Fish or Shrimp $18, Pork or Beef $19).
The tacos and quesadillas were made on-the-spot at a live station, so we got them piping hot. My bottomless-pit stomach and I swept through one of each variety, and I found my favourite filling for both Taco and Quesadilla was definitely Beef.
Their beef was very tender and had a rich meaty flavour that complemented the cheese within well.
We also tried the Coyote special Crispy Spicy Mixed Beef Lung & Brisket Tortilla ($21). The thought of consuming beef lung terrified me at first, but I went ahead with it and actually found myself liking it. The crispy beef lung added a different texture to the filling, as well as a somewhat earthy flavour to the meat.
It’s one of Chef Amin’s specialties, and the unique combination really lived up to its title. This is one dish you ought to try when you visit Coyote.
I also quite liked the Fish Tacos ($18), as the flakier, soft texture of the fish went nicely with the floury taco.
Coyote may not be the first Tex-Mex joint to grace Singapore’s dining scene, but it definitely serves up delicious grub rivalling those that already exist.
Tanglin-dwellers have something new to look forward to for their weekend brunches. As exotic foreign cuisines continue to garner popularity in Singapore, Coyote is a worthy contender for the best Tex-Mex joint.
Expected Damage: $20 – $40 per pax