Mexico Food and Liquor, Surry Hills

Sydney is amidst Mexican mania and Mexico Food and Liquor is the latest venue to open in Surry Hills at the site that was occupied by District Dining.

Mexico Food and Liquor, Surry Hills
Mexico Food and Liquor, Surry Hills

Located on the corner of Randle and Chalmers streets, a mere hop from Central Station, the Mexican themed restaurant and bar opened a week ago and on a Friday night, it is operating at full capacity.

Mexico Food and Liquor, Surry Hills
Table and banquette seating

Red, bold and buzzy, hanging sombreros, Day of the Dead insignia, religious artefacts, old framed posters, caged light bulbs in a red and bold décor make up the 120 person capacity eatery. A high table with tall stools runs along one side with banquettes and small tables on the other.

Mexico Food and Liquor, Surry Hills
High table seating

A semi-private area with a central shared table is suitable for group dining.

Mexico Food and Liquor, Surry Hills
Semi-private dining area

The Liquor list has a good range of Mexican beers starting at $9 for Tecate and Pacifico. The Cocteles list plays on the traditional Mexican favourites such as the Paloma, La Batanga and Mexico Caipirinha. A selection of wines is available from the blackboards with $20 corkage for the BYO option.

Tequila and Mezcal have their own separate menu with an impressive range of over 80 tequilas and a one page list of mezcals. All tequilas are made from 100% agave, some of which are organic or come from small producers.

Mexico Food and Liquor, Surry Hills
L-R: Strawberry Margarita, Mexico City Margarita

Start with the house drink, Mexico City Margarita ($12), made with El Jimador Reposado, agave nectar, lime juice and sugar with a flake salt rim. The drink is well balanced and easy to drink. Don’t be fooled thinking the Strawberry Margarita ($14) is a sweet drink. The cocktail starts fruity with an agave flavour and finishes with a gentle lime and ginger kick making a good choice for an aperitif.

The food menu is divided into snack, soft shell tacos, house specialties, quesadillas and specials on the blackboard.

Mexico Food and Liquor, Surry Hills
Picked vegetables

Snack on the Picked Vegetables ($6), an assortment of crunchy beans, carrots, turnips, sweet peppers and cauliflower to prime the palate before ordering a carafe of sangria.

Mexico Food and Liquor, Surry Hills
Senorito Punch-O

The Senorito Punch-O ($42 – 1L carafe) is a mix of pineapple, jalapenos, mint, coriander, agave syrup  and lime with Illegal Mezcal. Fresh, citrusy and easy drinking, the sangria finishes with a lingering smoke from the Mezcal. The tequila version, Senorita Punch-O will set you back $35 for a carafe.

Mexico Food and Liquor, Surry Hills
Pibil rubbed pork taco

From the soft shell tacos, the pibil rubbed pork with black beans, red cabbage, guajillo and sesame ($6) has a generous filling of tender and flavoursome pulled pork.

Mexico Food and Liquor, Surry Hills
Agave caramelised squid taco

From the specials menu comes the standout item. The Agave caramelised squid taco ($8) bursts with flavour with tender pieces of squid in a rich, thick caramelised sauce balanced with fennel shavings, cumin and baby coriander. This is one specials items that deserves a permanent spot on the menu.

Mexico Food and Liquor, Surry Hills
Chipotle lime ceviche

The chipotle lime ceviche with black tomatoes, red pepper, garlic, coriander ($14) comes served with a single crisp tortilla and packs a lot of flavour with a medium chilli kick at the end, making it a mooreish dish.

Mexico Food and Liquor, Surry Hills
Mexico’s Fried Chicken

Mexico’s Fried Chicken ($12) is not to be missed, at least that’s what the menu tells you. Four pieces of hot, spicy, crumbed a deep fried chicken with guacamole and mayo sauce will have you licking your fingers. It is truly not to be missed and a dish that is destined to be a crowd pleaser.

Mexico Food and Liquor, Surry Hills
Prawn Quesadilla

The prawn, smoked paprika, chilli and orange with corn salsa quesadilla ($12) is tasty with mild spice and a little heat. The quesadilla servings are generous and filling if you are very hungry.

Mexico Food and Liquor, Surry Hills
 Mexican themed decor

Dessert is a modest choice of two dishes ($8 each) with Mexican short bread biscuits with mandarin curd and black sesame and ancho chilli, cinnamon and chocolate ganache with olive oil cake and yoghurt.

Mexico Food and Liquor, Surry Hills
Mezcal, Mr Spock

A mezcal or an aged tequila are a good way to end the meal. Illegal Mezcal Anejo ($16) makes a good introduction to Mezcal. The time it has spent in oak removes the sharpness leaving a very smooth, sweet spirit with some oak, vanilla and spice on the back palate. Peirde Almas Tobala ($20) is bold and sharp upfront and dominates the palate before yielding into a long, smoky and warming finish.

Mexico Food and Liquor
The bar

Mexico Food and Liquor is a fun eatery that serves tasty Mexican street food that’s good value for money. The menu is designed to be come out fast with dishes often served all at once. The venue suits a casual dinner for two or with a small group of friends. Four to five dishes can be shared between two people keeping in mind that the quesadillas are filling.

Mexico Food and Liquor, Surry Hills

The vibe is fiesta-like, fast and buzzy, with friendly wait staff spinning around the room. Bookings are not taken which ensures an ebb and flow of patrons, with most people not lingering over their meal.  Go for tasty Mexican fare, finish with a Tequila or Mezcal and with the Madonna behind the bar, you know that your drinks and cocktails will be blessed.

Mexico Food and Liquor is featured in Sydney’s top tequila bars.

Edit July 2014 – Mexico has closed and is now Brooklyn Social.

Mexico – Food and Liquor
17 Randle Street
Surry Hills, NSW 2010

About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is a drinks writer, author of GROW YOUR OWN COCKTAIL GARDEN, SHRUBS & BOTANICAL SODAS and founder/editor of Gourmantic, Cocktails & Bars and The Gourmantic Garden. She has been writing extensively about spirits, cocktails, bars and cocktail gardening in more recent years. She is a spirits and cocktail competition judge, Icons of Whisky Australia nominee, contributor to Diageo Bar Academy, cocktail developer and is named in Australian Bartender Magazine's Top 100 Most Influential List. Her cocktail garden was featured on ABC TV’s Gardening Australia and has won several awards. She is a contributor to Real World Gardener radio program and is featured in several publications including Pip Magazine, Organic Gardener, Australian Bartender and Breathe (UK). Read the full bio here.