Sydney Mexican food: Fun but unfaithful
Mexican food in Sydney can be a lot of fun, but it is hardly faithful to the real stuff.
Perhaps we're just no good at long-distance mimicry. Sydney can do Asian cuisine pretty well, but it misses the mark when it comes to Mexican.
For those who have snacked at an insanely cheap taqueria on the bustling streets of Mexico City or enjoyed tortillas full of rice and beans, salsa and guacamole in Puerto Escondido, the food here can come across as somewhat bland.
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Nevertheless, a night out munching on Mexican food and downing some tequila, agave and margaritas with friends can be a fun experience in Sydney.
New ambitious Mexican-inspired restaurants such as Guzman y Gomez and Beach Burrito Company have added some pizazz and publicity to the Mexican food scene in Sydney.
But the options in this city remain, largely, a pale imitation of the fantastic offerings available in Mexico itself.
Let's have a look at the best of a bad bunch.
The Baja Cantina avoids much of the kitschy Mexican decorations such as sombreros hanging off the ceilings -- it's tastefully decorated with the vibrant colors and calavera paintings of Mexico.
It would be at home in colonial Oaxaca.
The atmosphere inside makes for an enjoyable eating experience. Since 2006 owner Richard Comings has pledged to bring “Quality California-style Mexican food to Sydney."
The food is enjoyable and
well presented, winning this restaurant quite a following, but
to claim the cuisine as authentic is probably a tad misleading.
New kids on the block Guzman y Gomez have carved a market for themselves with their "Subway approach" to Mexican food.
It is a delight to see their funky little Volkswagen beetle, decked out exactly like a Mexico City cab -- minus all the dents, scratches and exhaust fumes -- cruising the streets.
But their food -- which draws its inspiration from New York City, not the capital 3,300 kilometers south -- is as underwhelming as the service.
Beach Burrito Company
The Beach Burrito company is a fun, funky place to enjoy a snack or a meal and definitely draws in the cool crowd with its tasty Margaritas.
Poco Cantina offers a friendly and cheerful night out and Azteca’s in Randwick and Fiesta on Oxford are two others that have their followings.
But with every visit to each of these restaurants, the experiences begin to blur together.