Back in the late 90s lamenting about the lack of Mexican food in Australia was one of the favourite whines for every food lover we who has spent any time at all in America.
It was such an obvious, gaping hole in our culinary offering and given the very addictive and moreish nature of great Mexican food, we had every right to complain about not having access to a half decent burrito and accompanying margherita.
Cut to 2013 in Sydney town and all of a sudden there’s an explosion of options for those craving that kick of lime and chipotle. It’s no longer a case of racking your brain as to how you can get your Mexican craving sated as much as which of the plethora of new Mexican eateries are going to fit the bill.
Some might call it a gimmick, but apparently the must try dish on arrival at El Topo are the crickets in garlic and chilli. Our waitress couldn’t stop raving about them and how addicted she is to these high protein little morsels. Let’s just say that your El Topo experience will be no less enjoyable if you skip the insects and head straight for the grub.
Following the insects we move to what ends up being my favourite dish of the night and the one that I would consider the mandatory order for any visit – the Scallop Ceviche. It’s a beautiful, lime-y offering served with crisp corn chips in an adorable preserving jar. It’s fresh and moreish and between this and my margarita I am in heaven.
We then followed up with the Mushroom Quesadillas which is a rich and tasty and so divine that you don’t even notice that you’re eating vegetarian ;)
Almost to cancel out our healthy and fresh eating so far we order the Pulled Pork and Beef Tongue tacos. The table is evenly split with the sous chef preferring the tongue and me the pork – but really they are both terrific.
I think one of the best things about mexican food are there sides so I have to try both the Corn Cob Verde with Chipotle, Queso Fresco and Coriander as well the Frijoles. The corn is beautiful but unfortunately the black beans are a little too firm for my liking.
To wrap things up we order the Chorizo with Poached Eggs. Served with crackers it’s a little like a Mexican tartare (except the chorizo is cooked not rare). It’s full of flavour and a different spin for chorizo lovers.
We have a long list of items that we were still keen to try including the beef ribs, the spicy prawns and a crack at desserts. Will report back on these following our next visit.
Overall I think the experience was very enjoyable with dishes ranging from knock-your-socks-off to not bad. Will provide a final verdict once we’ve worked our way through more of the menu.
500 Oxford Street, Bondi Junction | +61 2 8383 5959