Tag Archives: Mexican

For fried crickets, cactus plants and the Virgin Mary – head to El Topo

Bondi Junction’s El Topo is riding the taco revolution, which shows no signs of slowing. This isn’t your standard quesadilla joint, however. The unusual location, on the rooftop of The Eastern hotel, amongst the retail high rises of Bondi Junction’s Westfield complex, may be a deterrent for some but those put off probably aren’t El Topo’s target market, anyway.

There’s an indoor restaurant, which offers a colourful array of booth seating, plus there’s an outdoor terrace and bar

There’s an indoor restaurant, which offers a colourful array of booth seating, plus there’s an outdoor terrace and bar

There’s an indoor restaurant, which offers a colourful array of booth seating, plus there’s an outdoor terrace and bar. Hand-painted Oaxaca tiles make a colourful tabletop and glass sculls, imported from Mexico, are scattered around the space.

Like the location, the menu is unexpected. Rather than offering Tex-Mex or California-style fare, El Topo prides itself on serving dishes that are authentically Mexican. For the brave, there’s fried crickets and unusual accompaniments like jicama fruit and cactus. The chipotle chile prawns are not for the feint hearted, either; they’ve got a rich and layered heat, and they’re served whole (head, tail and shell). Just like you’d get in Mexico.

Soft shell tacos

“Taco de cerdo” – guallio chile pork, roast pineapple, lettuce and coriander

The tacos are soft-shell, not hard, and the mushroom quesadilla is filled with ingredients like Mexican truffle, salsa verde and queso oaxagueno (a white, semi hard chese from Mexico). It’s not overloaded with cheap fillers and it doesn’t ooze cheesy oil when you pick it up.

Homemade mango, strawberry and coconut paddlepops

Homemade mango, strawberry and coconut paddlepops

The mandate for authenticity comes from head Chef Matthew Fitzgerald. While his resume doesn’t list a host of Mexican joints, he has earned his stripes at reputable establishments including Bathers’ Pavilion and Bentley Restaurant and Bar in Sydney, and Oxo Tower and Fig Bistro in London.

El Topo is constantly buzzing with a cool Hispanic vibe, but on Thursday nights the volume is amplified; they’ve got the dinner and the party combination down pat. If only every night was late night shopping.

Anna Lisle

Read more about El Topo here

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Filed under Bondi, Bondi Junction, El Topo, Reviews

#MEXICAN #SURRY HILLS #ANOTHER ONE

Just when you thought to yourself ‘my thighs can’t take another pulled pork taco!’, BAM, another must-try Mexican joint swings open its doors. With #Mexican being one of the post popular Twitter hashtags, this new eatery in Surry Hills is right on trend.

The flamboyant interior

MEXICO’s flamboyant interior

On the corner of Randal and Chalmers street, just a short stroll from Central Station, MEXICO is a fun-filled eatery and bar from the savvy Kiwi team behind District Dining. The fit-out is simply fantastic. It’s Mexican overload, but somehow it remains eclectic and bold without being kitsch. Waltz in through a graffiti emblazoned entrance, moodily lit by lights encased in glass jars, and step inside into a long room with a cherry-lit bar down one end. Red-spiced walls with splashes of olive and canary yellow are further enlivened with sombreros, snapshots of Mexican revelry and posters of Frida Kahlo.

Soft shell taco selection

Soft shell taco selection

The menu combinations are creative, with a list of daily changing specials. Sadly, the soft tacos need a good hit of lemon and salt (should be easy enough in a place like this?) and the fried chicken, which declares itself as ‘not to be missed!’ can drop the exclamation mark. Surprising highlights are the salads. Most notably, the blood orange, peanut, beetroot and feta salad is an esteemed combination and perfectly balanced.  A snack of crispy potatoes tossed in celery lime salt with spicy tomatillo dressing are also delightful, generous for the price and wonderfully moorish.

Options include beef brisket, chicken, pork, fish and vego

Options include beef brisket, chicken, pork, fish and vego

There are house wines on offer or BYO ($20 corkage applies), and a solid list of cerveza and top-shelf tequilas. However, you really can’t go past the margaritas, which come by the glass or carafe.

Sami Jo Adelman

Read more about MEXICO here

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Filed under MEXICO, Reviews, Surry Hills