¡Qué bueno! Paddington’s just been given a heady shot of Latin America with the opening of new restaurant, Tequila Mockingbird. First time restauranteur, Michael Fegent (formerly Sake restaurants) took inspiration from his travels through South America, and wanted to replicate the food experiences he had to the Sydney market. Executive Chef Regan Porteous (Riley Street Garage, formerly Toko, Zuma, Maze) is also co-owner, and together they have built Tequila Mockingbird into a blend of flavours from all over Central and South America, from Mexico through to Argentina.
Housed in a restored three-storey terrace off Paddington’s Five Ways, the 110-seated restaurant stands impressively designed by Luchetti Krelle (Bar Brose, The Centennial, Acme and The Butler) towards a Spanish colonial aesthetic, perceived throughout the downstairs dining area, whilst upstairs features a more South American coastal vibe. There is also a rooftop terrace with an all-weather appropriate retractable roof, and on the ground floor, a leafy courtyard with outdoor seating.
The kitchen is led not only by Porteous, but also chef Gabriel Valenti (formerly of Peruvian-Japanese restaurant Osaka in Buenos Aires) and Matt Taylor Watkins (ex-Bentley Restaurant, Monopole). The trio of chefs have blended their various techniques and inspirations to arrive at a comprehensive menu that makes use of everything from Mexican turnips to Peruvian potatoes and peppers, all sourced locally where possible.
“This is a real journey through South and Central American with dishes you would find on the streets of Peru through to dishes like the Kangaroo Tartare Nachos (headline image), that you will never be able to find anywhere else”, said Valenti. “It is what we like to say in Peru ‘pichicata’, or the ultimate flavour hit”.
The menus will change with the seasons, but currently those heading along will find dishes predominantly focused on Peru, Argentina, and Uruguay. This means raw dishes like White Fish Tiradito with jicama, sweet corn puree, charred corn salsa, and corn kernels, a Mushroom Ceviche with plantain crisps, and the aforementioned Kangaroo Tartare with black beans and nachos. Street-style dishes include Alpaca and Mozzarella Empanadas, and Celeriac Soft-Shell Crab Taco. Bumping up to bigger dishes will fetch you the likes of grilled meats – like Pork Feather Blade and Twice-Cooked Spatchcock – that makes use of the wood-fired parilla grill. Wash any of these down with a range of 32 Tequilas and 10 mezcals, served straight or used in signature cocktails like the restaurant’s namesake Tequila Mockingbird (Don Julio blanco, St Germain elderflower liqueur, jalepenos, fresh lemon and agave nectar) or the Volcan de Fuego (Don Julio anejo, Coralillo joven mezcal, Aperol, fresh grapefruit juice, fresh lime and agave nectar). That, or you can choose from over 100 wines hand-selected by ex-Monopole Sommelier Sam Jones.
All dishes are designed to share and the majority of the menu is gluten free and coeliac-friendly.
Address: 6 Heeley Street, Paddington
Contact: (02) 9331 6749
Hours: Wed 4pm-10:30pm; Thurs 4pm-11:30pm; Fri 4pm-12am; Sat 11:30am-12am; Sun 11:30am-10pm
Images supplied and used with permission.