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NOT – La Cocina de Birdees, 608 Ann St, Fortitude Valley

Let me just start by saying I know this is a back packer’s joint, patient so I’m well aware of which market is being catered for at La Cocina de Birdees.  However, abortion the fact that I’m well and truly outside of that market doesn’t mean I don’t know the difference between good and bad food.  And generally within that travelling, wandering, financially weary demographic, they all know what value for money looks and tastes like.

At La Cocina de Birdees, there is heaps of potential for an awesome night of tunes, food, booze and cute young things to look at and play with.  The alfresco bar (and pool!) area at Birdees is decked out with bench seating, huge bird cage-type lounges, heaps of cool decor and a very chilled vibe.  The only thing missing?  A decent feed…

MM and I pulled up a bench at La Cocina de Birdeeson a Friday evening chasing some easy Mexican to close out an average week at the office.  To their credit, the staff were really friendly and attentive.  They didn’t know much at all about the menu, but I suspect that’s due to the transient nature of the employees, which is fair enough.

We started things with a couple of tacos.  I had the La Gamba taco with spicy pan seared prawns and pico de gallo ($5).  Now, the waitress couldn’t tell me what pico de gallo was, so I consulted my friends at Google – a fresh, uncooked condiment made from chopped tomato, onion and chilli…a type of salsa essentially.  It was kind of hard to tell what was on the taco really…I know there were definitely a couple of prawns, but they weren’t particularly spicy or salsa-y.  There were however very rubbery, and they were accompanied by a whole lot of dry, shredded iceberg lettuce.  The taco itself was somewhere in between hard and soft, with a little bit of chewy thrown in as well.

 MM had the El Pollo taco with pulled chicken and guacamole ($5) which fit the same description above, with the inclusion of chicken instead of prawns.

Not particularly wowed at this point, but with the care factor reduced by our yummy jug of red wine sangria, we people watched while waiting for our mains.  Refer to previous comment of pretty, cute young things to look at….

We both decided on the crispy Mexican pork belly ($23) with polenta, guacamole, ensalada de col, grilled lime and tortilla for our mains.  What arrived was a very bland, baron looking plate of super fatty, anaemic pork belly pieces, accompanied by more dry, shredded iceberg lettuce (not quite the coleslaw that was promised), a corn inspired patty of polenta and a dollop of guacamole.

The meaty part of the pig was pretty much non-existent…I think the only part of the animal we were served was a thick layer of flavourless fat, covered in another layer of fat, all held and bound together by a salty, thin and crispy skin.  Unimpressed much?  Pushing my helping of lard to the side, I sampled the polenta but didn’t get far with that either.  Dry, crumbly, bland…with the occasional piece of corn…call in the forensic team – the polenta died of boredom and was quite possibly days old.  And the shredded lettuce…well…what more can I say?

The desserts were interesting – not exactly good but not exactly bad.  I had the deep fried ice cream – fairly standard, but the batter was kind of thick and had a rather crumbed and fried chicken smell and look to it.  I ate it, so there’s an indication of how it stacked up to the other items on the menu I sampled.

MM had the churros.  Much to his disappointment, they were cold.  Stone cold.  Not even a tiny hit in the microwave – just straight from the freezer for a quick thaw out, before being plonked on a plate with some strangely flavoured dipping sauces (not even chocolate!).  It was at this point that MM’s face and heart finally sank…we had been defeated and deflated by the La Cocina de Birdees menu.

We threw back what was left of our sangria (which was definitely lacking in alcohol content), payed our bill and parted ways with the growing crowd of young things looking for a big night out.  I hate to think what myriad of sins occurred at the premises later that evening….

Needless to say, we won’t be returning for dinner to La Cocina de Birdees, but I won’t rule out a cool beverage or two by the pool on a hot summer’s day – that’s got a whole lot more fun written all over it.


  • La Cocina de Birdees, 608 Ann St, Fortitude Valley +61 1800 682 865
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