Mexican food is pretty much the biggest thing to happen to the Sydney dining landscape in the past 12 months with an explosion of spicy options for those after something a little south of the border.
Anyone who has spent anytime in either the States or Mexico had lamented for years about Australia’s tragic Mexican restaurant offering upon their return. It was long felt that given our produce here, there had to be something better on offer than a sad and soggy cheese covered mess.
Mejico, recently opened in the Sydney CBD, representing the other end of the scale of Mexican dining. Not just the fresh, lime-filled feasts that we had long craved, but a high end version that makes the fast, fresh food of Mexico a big night out. I’m a little sceptical about a flashy Mexican meal because I love it simple, but am willing to give it a go.
The fit out is awesome and cleverly done making you feel like you are up for a fun night out (it actually feels like a Melbourne venue). It is also crazy popular and booked out on this Saturday night with the city diner giddy with excitement about this new offering. The service is super cheery, and the atmosphere is warm and friendly. We chatted to the tables on either side of us which is an incredibly unusual happening but I think is reflective of the mood and energy in the room.
The Guacamole ($9) is a bit of a spectacle as it’s made fresh at your table. We’ve arrived on a night when the biggest, fattest avocados are in season and had to call for at least one other serve of crispy banana plantains to work our way through it. The only very minor hitch in the preparation process is that they don’t season (which we quickly corrected after the first mouthful).
The tostada is heaving with Kingfish Ceviche ($16) which I loved at first bite. It reminded me of ceviche I’ve had at a high end restaurant in Mexico, but completely different to the one I cook at home (and what I’m use to). It was more shredded and combined with a lot of other ingredients. It’s deceptively filling for what is ordinarily a beautiful and light mouthful.
The Ocean Trout Tacos ($16) are the food item that is, in theory, not really my bag as it feels like the item that deviates the furthest from my expected Mexican experience, but there’s certainly nothing to hate. They’re generous slabs of ocean trout with a nice kick of fresh jalapeno.
The Glazed Pork Ribs with Blacked Corn & Polenta Chips ($34) are crazy popular. Four tables in a row, including us, have ordered this for mains, and plate after plate of these piled Flintstone-style servings are leaving the kitchen. This dish is a ‘I’m-in-an-established-relationship-not-first-date’ kinda meal and an incredible leveller. Generously covered with a thick and jammy, sweet and spicy sauce it was hard to know where this was going to land – as it turned out down my front and on his glasses and over most of our faces. Though incredible, the sauce was a little full-on for me and I preferred the ribs that were a little less saturated. Upon saying that, all those sticky faces around me do not look in anyway disappointed, so I think it’s a personal preference.
There’s a mexican stand off over the final rib. I’m determined to leave room for something sweet so my dining companion takes the last sticky baton.
Dessert menu is a little anticlimactic (not sure what I was expecting) but we settle on the Milk Chocolate Shot ($6) made with tequila which is probably a little boozier then we were thinking. This is a surprising and major hit. If someone told me that I would be beaming following a tequila spiked hot chocolate I would have thought they were mad, but it’s a dream. They get the balance just right.
And so we leave, me feeling a little unbalanced following what feels like equal parts tequila and pork. It’s the weekend that Café Pacifico is closing, perhaps the sunsetting on Sydney Mexican restaurants of old, with Mejico and a sea of other great options angling to fill that spicy spot.
105 Pitt Street, Sydney | +61 2 9230 0119