Nacho Average Food Critics: The Critic Te Ārohi Nacho Review

Nacho Average Food Critics: The Critic Te Ārohi Nacho Review

Some of them were pretty average, though.

Nachos are an easy, reliable, hearty meal. They should, therefore, be nearly impossible to fuck up. And yet, being the exceptional city that it is, Dunedin has somehow managed to fuck them up.


We crawled from chip to chip across town seeking out all the best places to get your nacho fix, for your entertainment and future hangover cures. Here are our takes on each place we visited.


Baaa Bar - $16.50

None of us necessarily pictured ourselves sitting in Baaa Bar at 1pm on a Friday, but life’s a bitch and she can step on me. The nachos, in turn, did taste slightly stepped on, which may have been the closest thing to seasoning those poor nachos had ever encountered. There was a hefty and welcome dollop of sour cream, but the other toppings were as sparse as the average Baaa-goer’s hairline. The tortilla chips were clearly of the circular store-bought kind (Mexicano?) but they get some points for grilling them, I guess. Overall, pretty much your quintessential kiwi pub nachos: completely foreign to someone in Mexico, but if you’re in an establishment that serves them, the word “foreign” might be a bit too spicy for you anyway.


Slop-o-meter: Not too wet. Not too dry. Possible weapon of choice in the event you were trapped in the cafeteria food-fight scene of a teen angst movie.

Pairs well with: Huffing exhaust fumes from the back of a sheep transport truck to own the Greens.


Taco Bell - $12.90

Looking down at the cardboard box of Taco Bell nachos felt like looking at something rendered by an AI: it had the overall impression of nachos, without resembling food in the slightest. It was colourful, but in a concerning way, like the walls of a children’s hospital or a dyed undercut, and the cheese formed such stagnant and greasy pools that the entire Critic office came down with the Cheese Touch. More to the point, this bitch was WET. Like, those nachos were a slow-moving liquid, cardboard box and all. The exorcism-vomit guac was indistinguishable from the cheese if you closed your eyes (we tested) and the mince was to beef what a Neuron scooter is to the World’s Fastest Indian. It was also only present in tiny, pustule-like beads, not unlike the contents of a ‘DO NOT EAT’ silica gel packet. We wish we’d gone with the silica gel.


Slop-o-meter: Getting a wedgie at a waterpark.

Pairs well with: Lava lamp fluid and doing sudokus in your head.


Night ‘n Day - $8.90

Give that one guy at Night ‘n Day George Street a goddamn fucking medal. We made eye contact with him as he put a whole-ass can of Wattie’s beans, meat ‘n shit into the microwave and proceeded to ask us about our future plans for the day, entirely confused when we gave no context other than saying, "More nachos." First impressions were much better than Taco Bell, however the overwhelming saltiness of the cheese-flavoured Mexicano corn chips topped with actual cheese nearly gave us an aneurysm. In one corner of the already buckling Night ‘n Day box was a small paddling pool of cheese, and dotted around this was tiny beef pellets that reminded us of the Wattie’s canned spaghetti and sausages. Probably the exact same meat. The chips, despite being extremely reputable outside of Night ‘n Day nachos, were incredibly brittle, making a drunken rage almost inevitable after a night in town.


Slop-o-meter: Not enough slop. Too many un-sloppefied chips led to brittleness.

Pairs well with: Crossing George Street outside of Night ‘n Day while being chased down for your pockets full of “free” ketchup.


Amigos - $26

Surprisingly, despite being in the creepiest part of the outer Octagon, Amigos earned itself a place in our hearts. We looked in awe at the sheer nest of nachos, already tummy-hurting and regretting volunteering for this review. We each had to take a second before analysing this work of art. Each chip looked as though it was delicately handcrafted and sensually cooked to perfection, but nothing prepared us for what we were about to encounter: the juiciest meat we’d ever had. And we work at Critic, we know a thing or two about juicy meat. The entire thing screamed “boujee”, with beans that looked hand-picked from a line rather than poured from a can. We truly believe that not a single part of this meal ever saw the inside of a microwave. Our only issue with this beauty was how much it was piled up, like a mf’n Jenga tower. We salute anyone who attempts to tackle this hungover, let alone drunk.


Slop-o-meter: Crunch-crunch, munch-munch, yummy-yummy, perfect in every fucking way.

Pairs well with: Mango smoothies from Chatime with the rainbow bits that make my brain feel loved.


Del sol - $23

We’d expect more from a place on the boujee side of the Octagon, especially for 23 whole dollaroonies and for being pretty much directly underneath the fantastic Etrusco. For some reason Del Sol didn't serve beef nachos, so we picked chicken which, although disappointing, was still very refreshing after a long afternoon of the same genre of meat. Del Sol could have had the decency to make it slightly less dry, and there was a general lack of flavour all around. The meal left us all a tiny bit sad. Real cheese was a much needed bonus, which went hard after the previous places (not you Amigos, I love you bby girl xoxo). The little pools of grease were a nice addition, being similar to what the beef at Taco Bell seemed to be simmering in. It could, in fact, have been the same grease scooped up and fed to us again. Disappointment aside, we all agreed we could definitely munch on this when drunk.


Slop-o-meter: Wasn’t too sloppy but that isn’t really a compliment. It definitely needed more sour cream and salsa.

Pairs well with: The little red nipple in the middle of those shitty laptops you had at primary school or chewing on the corner of an iPod touch.


Alley Cantina - $26

Saying that you’ve got the best Mexican food in Dunedin is a bit like bragging that you have more teeth than anyone else in the nursing home. Still, Alley Cantina’s nachos were something to savour. For $26, the portion was certainly reasonable; anyone of the small-to-medium size could have easily squeezed two meals out of this, and the toppings were diverse enough that it actually felt like a meal. The chips weren’t just standard circle corn chips either, which was a huge plus. However, the size of the Alley nachos was a double-edged sword: the same sheer mass that gave the meal its heft also created conditions known to experts as “Nacho Hell”, in which the innermost clump of chips was insulated in a warm, wet environment and thus prone to sogging. This can leave you with droopy chips, as by the time you’ve carved your way through the crispy top layer to expose the pits of Nacho Hell, you’re probably too full to put the limp chiplets out of their misery. Still: solid flavouring, excellent veggie options and, most importantly, great tortilla chips.


Slop-o-meter: Sloppiness limited to the inner regions, otherwise well constructed.

Pairs well with: Spending all of your course-related costs on takeaways.

This article first appeared in Issue 3, 2023.
Posted 12:44pm Sunday 12th March 2023 by Lotto Ramsay and Arlo Hill.