Meander down an obscure laneway in Central’s Lan Kwai Fong district and you’ll stumble upon lively Mexican cantina, Brickhouse. The blink-and-you’ll-miss-it eatery has been a rousing success since opening in 2012, slinging authentic south-of-the-border street food into the early hours of the night. While Brickhouse may take awhile to locate, once you’ve made your way into this hip, open-air venue where the smell of sizzling meat and mole fills the air, you’ll feel right at home
One of the best-loved restaurants from homegrown hospitality group Maximal Concepts, Brickhouse is the pioneering crusader for bringing the authentic street flavours of Mexico to Hong Kong. The bustling taqueria comes alive at night, when candlelight flickers against exposed red brick walls splashed with colourful graffiti art from local artists. Each month the art changes through Brickhouse’s Artist of the Month initiative, with prior collaborations including Mark Goss, Tentakle, Jay Stern, Rockwell and 4Get.
Against this backdrop, a hip-hop playlist sets the soundtrack and delighted patrons pour onto the outdoor terrace, where salvaged oil cans function as bar tables. On every table sits colourful glass tumblers boasting an array of agave-based cocktails — your first order of business to get the night off to a flying start.
The original drinks pay homage to underrated Mexican spirits: try the Rojo Lena, with its blend of mezcal, Lillet Blanc, strawberry, absinthe and pink peppercorn leaving a slight buzz on the lips; the Sal Gringo which mixes bourbon with Mexican berries, lime and cilantro; or the Mole Old Fashioned, a riff on a classic with mole-washed Añejo tequila tempered with maple syrup.
Whet the palate with an order of the Mexican-style street corn to start: sweet corn-on-the-cob halves are rolled in a snowfall of salty Parmesan cheese, with tangy sour cream and a fiery vein of hot sauce to dial up the heat. Contrast this with the shockingly bright ceviches, from hamachi marinated in a spiced jalapeno vinaigrette to Peruvian-style tuna in a yuzu-lime dressing.
For tacos, it’s wise to go straight for the sampler, which lets you taste all five varieties. Tender and yielding, the tortillas are pressed fresh on the comal just before serving, lending a sturdy base to fillings of beef cheek, fish, pork belly, prawns and marinated chicken. The “Wagyu Lookin’ At” features juicy Wagyu beef cheek marinated in adobo with spicy sour cream; while the “Piggie Smalls” is a mouthwatering bite of slow-cooked achiote pork belly, roasted pineapple and bacon aioli complemented by a sweet and tangy salsa de piña picante.
There’s no strict etiquette that needs to be followed at Brickhouse, and whether you want to end your night gracefully with a sip of creamy horchata or knock back a few shots of tequila before stumbling out the door, the night is yours to decide. Unpretentious yet decidedly edgy and cool, Brickhouse seems to live by one purpose: to give Mexican food its much-deserved spot in Hong Kong’s culinary limelight. For those for which a regular taco fix is a must, Brickhouse is a bona fide south-of-the-border saviour.