There are a lot of cheap fast food options for Mexican food in Sydney but the craze for tacos has moved up a notch with the arrival of Mejico, which oozes upmarket trendiness in its décor and menu. It sits right next to Jamie’s Italian on Pitt Street and is already packed to the rafters when we drop in only a week after its opening. If you haven’t made a booking, then your best bet is to take a seat at the bar area at the front next to the open kitchen because you can order anything from the full menu and drinks too.
Thankfully we had made a booking and were escorted to the back of the restaurant, where we were promptly served by a friendly waiter who poured us some tap water from a tequila bottle. This playful touch was a sign of what was to come when our guacamole came out – the waitress brought out bowls of ingredients on a platter to be mashed together in front of us with the mortar and pestle sitting on the table.
It was done with a bit of theatrical flair as she patiently explained each component of the dip which we could choose to include or not in our made to order guacamole (I had no idea you could put pistachios in there!). The result was an incredibly fresh guacamole which was full of flavour from the coriander, Serrano chilli, Spanish onion, lime juice and pistachios all combined with the creaminess of avocado. It was a simple yet wonderfully satisfying dip for the crispy thin golden plantain banana chips which accompanied the guacamole.
The fresh flavours of the guacamole were matched well by the next dish brought out which was the Pacific scallops ceviche, served up on cute little house baked tostadas (like thin crunchy crackers). I’m used to ceviches featuring sliced seafood fanned out on a plate, so having the juicy scallops chopped up and mixed through with avocado, pomegranate seeds and crispy eschalots and then neatly stacked on top of a round cracker was quite a pleasant surprise. The pomegranate seeds were an unconventional addition but they were fun to eat, popping with each bite to release its distinctive fruity flavour and overall, this was one of the best ceviches I’ve ever had.
Pacific Scallops Ceviche, $16
After that exciting start, we were keen to see what the tacos were like. Instead of having a main we had chosen 2 sets of tacos as we couldn’t choose between the Smoked Pork Belly and the Braised Lamb Shoulder. I’m glad we got them both because they were both amazing in their own ways. The Pork Belly has been smoked for 20 hours and it really shows in the infusion of barbecue flavour in the succulent meat which has been complemented by black bean hummus and tomatillo salsa. I also tasted some garlic mayo in the taco which wasn’t mentioned on the menu but was a fantastic sauce to add to the combo.
Smoked Pork Belly Tacos, $16 for 3
The Braised Lamb was soft and stringy in a good way, pepped up with mint-infused mayonnaise and gaujillo chilli to season. These parcels of moreish flavour were gone in a flash. While it’s true that each of these tacos is quite small relative to the fast food servings we’re used to, keep in mind that this is a gourmet interpretation and the quality and flavours of the ingredients are definitely in a different league.
Braised Lamb Shoulder Tacos, $16 for 3
Mejico has struck the right balance between fun and gourmet food, with a youthful, trendy ambience flowing throughout the restaurant that will keep you coming back for more. The prices do reflect the quality of the ingredients being more at the premium end of the market, but it’s a price I’m willing to pay to enjoy fine Mexican food in a proper restaurant setting.
105 Pitt Street
Sydney, NSW 2000
Phone: (02) 9230 0119