‘La Independencia de Mexico’ — Celebrate the day that Mexico marks its independence from Spain with traditional foods and Latin American flavours. Don’t worry about pronunciation, as the only word you need to know is Fiesta!
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While the fiesta is in full-swing half way around the globe, a bit more local celebration is happening in Kings Cross with live music, tequila cocktails and authentic Mexican fare from Chef Alvaro Valenzueala.
Start the festivities with a Blood Orange margarita, complimentary between 2-3pm, before moving on to their popular oyster, ceviche and tostada station.
You can opt for plain oysters but, in the spirit of the day, try one with a jalapeño mignonette or with Mezcal-oregano butter.
Here you’ll also be tempted with an equally unique selection of ceviche, including the classic lime-ginger cured fresco fish with the diced tomato pico de gallo, jalapeños and avocado or one with a tomatillo salsa, Chile árbol oil, onion, corn and cucumber.
There’s even a vegetarian version with cauliflower in lieu of fish. As you head into the evening, there’ll be agave spirits stations for sampling and some insight into this iconic drink. Viva Mexico.
— 7/33 Bayswater Rd, Potts Point
SOCAL NEUTRAL BAY
For fans of modern Mexican food and a laid-back beach lifestyle, climbing the colourfully tiled steps up to the funky bar and garden terrace, might as well be a stairway to heaven.
Channelling the Mexican influences and casual surf vibe of Southern California, you’re sure to feel like celebrating with specials on two tequila-based cocktails, the margarita and paloma.
In line with tradition, head chef Tomaz Salema Reis will be preparing Chiles en Nogada, a traditional dish that features the green, white and red colours of the country’s flag — green chillies stuffed with a mixture of shredded meat, aromatics, fruits and spices, topped with a white walnut-based cream sauce and red pomegranate seeds.
— 1 Young St, Neutral Bay
BAR PATRON BY ROCKPOOL
Like so many renowned chefs, their love for cooking began at an early age in the family kitchen.
For Pamela Valdés, head chef at Bar Patrón by Rockpool, it was alongside her grandmother in Veracruz, Mexico that she developed her passion for the culinary arts, eventually travelling the world to gain experience before landing in Sydney armed with family recipes.
For Mexican Independence Day, Pamela has created both a lunch and dinner set menu that features elements of her upbringing, particularly chiles en nogada, the traditional green, white and red dish that she makes with picadille stuffed poblano chiles.
Before you get to the iconic dish, you’ll start off with a clarified margarita along with some tasty titbits including, scallops with pineapple and tequila salsa eventually indulging in polvorones for dessert.
While the view may not include The Gulf of Mexico’s shoreline, a window looking out to the Sydney Harbour Bridge will certainly suffice.
— 2 Phillip St, Sydney
An innate sense of curiosity and 23 years of absorbing the expertise of those around him, chef John Frid along with owner Michael Fegent whose travels through South America, and experience with Mexican restaurants inspired the Latin American-centric venue, develop a menu that combines traditional element with a more refined approach.
“I believe with anything, the more that you talk about, read, touch, taste ingredients the more of an understanding you develop regarding the ingredients,” says John, adding that much of this is from talking to people and experiencing the sights and smell of street markets.
To celebrate Mexican Independence Day, Tequila Mockingbird is holding off until Tuesday when they will have a five-course beverage-paired menu, which in conjunction with Mexican Cellars will feature the best of Mexican wines.
You’ll start off with a classic margarita which, considering the bar boasts more than 40 top-shelf tequilas, is going to be pretty special followed by dishes with subtle Latin flavours such as seared sea scallop with pepitas, green apple salsa and crispy pork belly, and the duck confit empanada with black olive, cilantro and green chilli.
So party on Sunday but wait until Tuesday to indulge.
— 6 Heeley St., Paddington
EL GUSANO TAQUERIA
It wasn’t enough to read and hear about the excitement and energy that surrounds Mexican Independence Day, co-owners Colin and Gabi Church had to taste it for themselves.
The menu at their Collaroy venue already features the delicious street foods of Mexico, such as the prawn and snapper ceviche tostada, an array of corn tortilla tacos and housemade salsas, but come Sunday, they’ve added some specials to the board.
In addition to the traditional stuffed green chilli dish, chiles en nogada they included one of their favourites pozole erde — a green, chicken and hominy soup and of course, a cocktail they’ve dubbed La Libertad.
— 4 Collaroy St, Collaroy
The bold colours and massive hot sauce collection may lure you in but it’s the delicious food and engaging service that will have you celebrating.
Of course, a few specials such as the “feed me” menu for $35 which includes dishes such as the albondigas, lamb Merquez meatballs, and in conjunction with Camperdown’s own Wayward brewing, tostadas with Hopped Ported braised oxtail or the vegetarian version with lager tempura battered zucchini flowers, and some unique beer cocktails.
— Flying Fajita Sistas; 65 Glebe Point Rd, Glebe
Whether you’re up early for a stroll or just heading home after a night or dancing, mambo on over to Manly for coffee and breakfast tacos.
From 7.30am to 11am, Chica Bonita’s The Breakfast (TACO) Club will be a meaty taco with chorizo, capsicum, and potato hash topped with a fried quail egg or the vegetarian versions with sauteed mushrooms with chorizo, capsicum, hash brown and avocado.
Of course, this all needs to be accompanied by a cup of coffee from batch brewers, Okay Coffee.
— Chica Bonita; 9 The Corso, Manly
You can’t have a fiesta without music and it doesn’t get much better than Sydney’s favourite mariachi group Victor Valdes.
There’ll be colours twirling, trumpets blaring and Victor himself on the harp playing everything from classic Latin tunes to more modern ones even, get this, Jimmy Barnes.
Try Baja Cantina’s equally famous, chicken flautas made with Guajillo chilli marinated chicken, black beans, chilli and cheese rolled in a flour tortilla, fried crisp and served with guacamole.
There’ll also be drink specials on the day so be prepared to have some serious fun.
— Baja Cantina; 43-45 Glebe Point Rd, Glebe
Housemade with old families recipes and traditional cooking styles, the food here is quite tasty, but come Sunday, they’re pulling out all the spices for a special Independence Day menu.
There’ll be a full feast of traditional fare including Azteca tomato soup, Oaxaca melted cheese with corn tortillas, and birria, tender slow-cooked lamb, served in a bowl with fresh coriander, limes, creamy guacamole, onion, and tortillas.
Save room for dessert as the flan, Mexican custard served with a caramel sauce, is amazing.
— Mexican Burrito Cantina; 567 Crown St, Surry Hills
TACOS AND CEVICHE
Starting off with childhood memories of feasts out on the family farm in Mexico, David Michaels opened a tiny takeaway in Burwood then expanding to catering for large events.
The next move for him seemed obvious — a shopfront in the Mexican-food deprived area of Double Bay, which for Mexican Independence Day will be offering their fresh ceviche, and $3 tacos, including the Baja battered fish.
Mention Sydney Eat Street and you’ll get a free side of guacamole”.
— Pablo’s Kitchen Tacos; 1/401 — 407 New South Head Rd, Double Bay