6 Heeley St, Paddington, NSW
Latin America now has a home in Paddington thanks to Tequila Mockingbird.
The restaurant takes inspiration from all countries in the region, from Mexico all the way down to Argentina.
First time restaurateur, Michael Fegent, has spent plenty of time travelling throughout the Americas and was inspired to bring these authentic tastes to Australia. He is also joined by co-owner and Executive Chef, Regan Porteous. Regan has an impressive resume that includes stints at Riley Street Garage, Toko, Zuma and Maze.
It was while Michael was travelling that he met Gabriel Valenti. Gabriel was working at the renowned Peruvian-Japanese restaurant Osaka in Buenos Aires, but with a little convincing from Michael, Gabriel packed his bags and headed across the water to Australia. Last but not least, Matt Taylor-Watkins joined the ever-growing Tequila Mockingbird crew.
The chefs mastered the art of Skype calls and different time zones to create their bespoke menu. The combination of Gabriel’s insatiable passion for Latin American cooking, Peruvian background and experience working at some of South America’s best restaurants, along with Regan’s and Matt’s modern Australian knowledge and experience has resulted in a menu that celebrates authentic flavours and techniques while also translating to the Australian palate.
Regan said, “It was really important to all of us that the menu was authentic so we’ve spent a long time carefully sourcing the right ingredients locally wherever possible, from Mexican turnips to Peruvian potatoes and peppers. Incredibly, we’ve been able to find around 90 percent of our produce locally, which is really exciting.”
Each seasonal menu will meander through different regions of Latin America. During the colder months, the dishes are predominantly a journey through Peru, Argentina and Uruguay. The menu starts off with a raw section that includes highlights such as a white fish tiradito, jicama and corn textures including sweet corn puree, charred corn salsa and corn kernels; and kangaroo tartare, black bean, nachos.
Latin America’s celebrated street food isn’t forgotten either with offerings including alpaca and mozzarella empanadas, and celeriac soft-shell crab tacos. There’s also calamari with roast pepper and ajo blanco; and fried provolone with garlic mushrooms and Pedro Ximinez on offer.
It wouldn’t be a South American restaurant without featuring a parilla grill. The famed Argentinian wood-fired feast includes a choice of five grilled meats from pork feather blade ‘pluma’, twice-cooked spatchcock, BBQ lamb shoulder, wagyu tri tip, and a dry-aged rib eye on the bone. It’s all served with traditional salsa criola and aged chimmichurri.
“This food is a real journey through South and Central America with dishes you would find on the streets of Peru through to dishes like the kangaroo tartare nachos that you will never be able to find anywhere else! It is what we like to say in Peru ‘pichicata’ or the ultimate flavour hit!” said Gabriel.
It would be a sin to serve Mexican food without tequila, especially with a name like Tequila Mockingbird, and the drinks list doesn’t disappoint. There are 32 tequilas and 10 mezcals on the menu to be enjoyed straight or in one of the tasty cocktails on offer.
The food is designed for sharing so bring your friends, bring your family and indulge in a meal you’re unlikely to forget.