While everyone’s a-quiver over Duke Bistro, those in the know have followed Thomas Lim to his ‘other’ new hang. Melbourne trendsetter Michael Delany (Third Class/Sorry Grandma!) has given it a comfy South of the Border feel, with Mission lights, stucco walls and striped lounges set around a leafy green courtyard that begs to be explored.
The Mexican influence extends to both the clever cocktail list and the even better menu of bar snacks, soft tacos and pub favourites.
From the menu to the chalkboard walls, the place is littered with pithy writing to ponder as you drink your way down the list. Or pick up the chalk and share your own pearl of wisdom.
Have a Warhol moment with the soup-can Sunday Bloody Sunday ($15), or linger over a delicate hibiscus tea Left Hand Dutchie ($15).
Definitely explore the Soft Shell Tacos ($5.50/1, $20/4) – after sampling the lot, I rate the grilled whiting with anchiote paste, lettuce, pico de gallo and fresh lime; and the...
...braised pork neck with onions, cabbage, apple, mojo verde and coriander highest.
Speaking of pig, the Pork Belly and Slaw Roll ($7.50) is essential.
Ditto the little glass of White Fish and Prawn Ceviche ($12) with lime and coconut.
Feel free to bring vegetarians – but make sure you get two pieces of Corn with Chipotle Mayo, Queso and Lime ($5) and you'll probably...
...need a second Seasonal Mushroom Taco ($5.50) because they're really tasty, filled with braised red cabbage, almond pico de gallo and pickled cucumber.
While I'm back on tacos, here's the Beef Short Rib with Queso Fresco, Scallions and Lime with Salsa Mojo ($5.50). These really were some of the most inventive combinations I'd ever tried in a tortilla.
This one is the Chargrilled Chicken Thigh with Red Onion, Guacamole Lettuce, Chipotle Mayo and Cucumber ($5.50).
Deep-Fried Pickles with Ranch ($5) are genius; punctuate everything with them. I actually can't wait to go back here... it's my sort of pub.
*This was my PUB OF THE WEEK on 2GB 873 Fresh! with Luke Grant & Luke Mangan
on Sunday 2nd February, 2014:
305 Cleveland Street, Surry Hills
Ph: (02) 9699 3177