Hola! Alex Harmon sure seems to have stumbled upon a real Bondi winner this week...
“Are you going to search me,” the giggling girl seated next to us asks. My dining partner and I are wearing rubber gloves and about to dive into Tortita Ahogada ($12) the messiest dish in the cantina. Co-owner Bildo Saravia (AKA Mr. Moustache) tells us to “drown” this delicious pork sandwich with spicy salsa and eat it with gloves - even though they “don’t do this in Mexico!” It’s exactly the kind of cheekiness you should expect at this Bondi hotspot.
On one side you’ve got an opulent bar, inspired by ex-dictator Porfirio Díaz's obsession with France, and on the other, a colourful kitchen reflecting Mexican street food culture. We sip rare Mezcal and munch on complimentary spiced kidney beans - “crickets are too cliché” says co-owner Regina Ros, “although I have them at my house.”
Soon we’re presented with an array of share plates: Seasonal Ceviche ($10); Tostaditas Pato ($12/3) mini tacos with spicy duck, and Huitlacoche ($12/3), black corn truffle, roasted corn and fresco cheese...
...and soft shell Fish Tacos ($6) - possibly the most ‘Western’ of all the dishes.
A lot of the cocktails are Mezcal-based, like the El Original del Diablo ($18) with homemade ginger beer, but you can also “go French” with D’vine ($16), a popular cocktail with apricot-infused gin.
Their star dessert is Plantos Machos ($11) - plantain sautéed with coffee liquor and burnt goat’s milk – it’s hard to believe this stunning dish is considered “street food”.
Although the real shock of the night comes when Mr. Moustache calls us to the bar for “Toques, Toques”. This is not some sort of after-dinner shot, but a playful Mexican tradition. Let’s just say: you’re in for a dangerously good time…
75-79 Hall Street, Bondi Beach
Ph: (02) 9300 8892