Around 5 years ago and more, I would have complained that there's not enough Mexican food in Sydney. These days lots of people would be complaining that there's way too much Mexican food in Sydney. Not me, I would say bring it on but I'm biased because I looooooove Mexican food. One night I was stumbling back to the station after a night out at the club and walked past this restaurant just setting up and getting prepared before its grand opening about a week later. Judging by the menu, it looked like something I really want to try. It's also fairly close to work as well as being in the heart of Sydney CBD so it fast tracked itself to nearly the top of my list of places to try during my lunch hour.
Mejico has an electric, funky and modern feel by its neon pink and black decor and fancy setting. Though it is not cheap like El Loco or Guzman Y Gomez. Looking at the diners, it's seems to be appealing towards the city workers looking for somewhere to meet for a work lunch. Funny enough, it's right next door to Jamie's Italian and its pasta machine and with someone standing at the front making the restaurant's signature blackened corn on the corn grill. Bit of a sneaky move but it makes the impatient and hungry diners happy rather than waiting 60+ minutes for a table at Jamie's. They offer an extensive selection of drinks at the bar and they even use their tequila bottle for the water. Again hilariously sneaky into making you think you are getting free tequila.
Water in a tequila bottle :p
The first thing that attracted me to this restaurant is the tacos. Especially lamb braised shoulder tacos...mmm lamb tacos. And it has gremolata which makes it even better for me (if you like gremolata that is). When it arrived, I was stunned at how small it really is. Really really small actually. If you are keen on coming here and just ordering one set of 3 tacos alone, it will not fill you up. Which is a bit of a bummer since it is $16. Despite that, the smoked lamb tacos were very delicious and incredibly juicy and the filling inside the tortilla is a generous serving. It has a Middle-Eastern taste with the smoky lamb that melts in your mouth, the crumbly gremolata and the zesty mint-infused mayonnaise.
Braised Lamb Shoulder ($16.00)
Still keen for more, I ordered another set of tacos but with pork belly that was smoked for 20 hours (hello to all the pork belly lovers!). The pork belly was cut into thick cubes and was accompanied with black bean hummus and tomatillo salsa on the side. I loved filling the tacos with the salsa as it just gives them a zesty taste. And the meat is so soft, juicy and scrumptious when you bite into it. Very tasty though I wish the tacos were bigger.
Smoked Pork Belly Tacos ($16.00)
Since trying the ceviches at various places like Queenies and Eat Art Truck, I am now a big fan of this colourful, refreshing and reasonably healthy meal. Mejico offers three variants including Pacific scallops, Hiramasa kingfish and Atlantic salmon. I selected the kingfish ceviche mainly for its ingredients including ruby grapefruit, watermelon, pepitas, radish and chilli flakes. These were presented as 4 bite sized treats with the filling laid on a thin and crispy cracker-like tostada. The filling tasted incredible with the colourful ingredients, the softness of the kingfish, the sweetness from the watermelon and the spiciness from the chilli flakes. Once again, my only disappointment was the size of these treats as I was hoping for the ceviche to be presented on a bigger tostada instead of an easy-to-break cracker.
Hiramasa Kingfish Ceviches ($16.00)
When arriving to my table, I immediately noticed the mortle and pestle placed there. Then I spotted a number of nearby diners ordering the signature Market Fresh Guacamole. with plantain chips. With so many restaurants serving guacamole, there must be something special for it to be one of Mejico's signature dishes. Sure enough, it turns out that it is freshly made. And by freshly made, I mean the waitress brings out a tray containing separate bowls of ingredients and makes the guacamole on the spot in front of you.
It was entertaining watching the waitress mixing and mashing the ingredients together to form the guacamole. Hopefully next time there is the option to make the guacamole ourselves to save time and effort for the staff. While it has traditional ingredients like avocado, coriander, Spanish onion and lime juice; there were several unusual ingredients including walnuts, serrano chilli and wasbai (whaaat?!). Despite the couple of odd ingredients, the wasabi and the chilli brought a nice kick to the guacamole as it mostly just tasted like avocado. The plantain chips were much bigger than I expected. These chips were a delightful treat to scoop up heavy chunks of the guacamole rather than the usual corn chips.
Market Fresh Guacamole ($9.00)
Recently, I returned to try a few more dishes after a hard morning at work. The other thing that attracted me to Mejico were the Sweet Potato croquettes but knowing how filling they will be, I didn't get to try them back then. The croquetas were golden and crunchy with a soft and sweet potato filling. Thanks to the sweet potato, this side dish ended up being very filling. The manchego cheese inside them tasted quite light that you wouldn't notice that it was there until you pull the croquette apart and watch the cheese drool. While I enjoyed the slightly spicy (possibly chipotle flavoured?) dipping sauce on the side, the spiciness does overpower the cheese when you dip it in.
Another signature is the blackened corn that was grilled in a husk as demonstrated at the front of the restaurant as you enter inside. I'd say that the corn is substantial if you order this for yourself or with one other friend and have two pieces each but individually for 4 ppl, it is quite small as well. I am guessing this was one corn cut into 4 equal pieces. As for the taste, I liked the grilled texture as well as the parmesan cheese and garnishes on top of each corn. Having said that, there wasn't much cheese on each corn so the cheese and corn lovers will be disappointed about this.
Blackened corn ($7.00)
By this point, I've realised that most of the food at Mejico has garnishes of fresh parsley on top...
While the majority of diners were office workers, it has the hip atmosphere from the music to the decor which made it vibrant and chic. The service was decent during my visits and I enjoyed the entertainment from seeing the waitress making the guacamole from scratch. In regards to the food, it was a mixed affair for me. Notably, the serving portions for some of the dishes seem small considering the value and it was pricey I still won't mind coming back again to try the ribs as I've heard how amazing they are as well as the Agave-glazed Caramel Fudge for dessert. With Mejico aiming towards modern Mexican dining with its fancy vibe, this may set the trend in branching the ever-increasingly popular Mexican cuisine to more than just fast street food or yet another addition to a pub/bar menu. Does it work? Well it gets a packed crowd at lunch on a weekday so they must be doing something right.
105 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9230 0119
105 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9230 0119