Which is your favourite? Southern California, Mexico or the expanse of Latin America? Well the good news is that you don’t need to choose your favourite when you can enjoy the tastes of them all at Cali’s Kitchen
Anyone familiar with Manly has most likely ended up (or started at cocktail hangout Donny’s Bar), tiptoe up the very tight spiral staircase and a world of adventure meets you in a cute New York loft style space with drop lighting, concrete floors, a long bar illuminated with candles and cascading greenery.
It’s a Friday night and the pretty young beachy people are all here, strappy dresses, thongs and a lot of laughter and friendship. Head Chef Gabriel Rodrigues (ex Icebergs) has created a riot of a seriously mind blowing tastes the hero being his prawn tostada. Its tapestry of flavours. A cripsy corn tortilla topped with sweet poached Yamba prawns, green tomatillo salsa and topped with a herb salad. Each element pops, sizzles and there is a bit of a stunned silence. WOW. That was amazing. The Holy Guacamole is lifted out of the ordinary thanks to a pico de gallo salsa and shaved ricotta along with a generous amount of tortillas.
We break up eating with drinking. A green machine of a cocktail is coming our way. Elderflower and Jalepeno Southside with Beefeater Gin and a spicy salt rim is delicious. The Stormy Mule is a refreshing blend of Havana 3, muddled coriander with ginger beer.
Smalls continue with a balanced ceviche of kingfish in a cold pressed green apple dressing, eschalot and chives. Next up are the tacos; halloumi is paired with guac, slaw, tomato salsa and cholula hot sauce. If pork on your fork is your thing, this taco is elevated to new levels with jalapeño, slaw and a smoky chipotle mayonnaise. ‘Bigs’ include a cubano sandwich – a monster toastie of pulled pork, melted swiss cheese, and sprightly pickles. Ancient grain quinoa salad with faro, barley, pomegranate, pico de gallo and Baja dressing says it all really. Sourcing, spicing and creativity of flavours.
Cali Kitchen 7 Market Place,Manly NSW 2097
Hours: 5pm to 11pm Mon to Fri; 12pm-11am Saturday and 2pm-10pm
Check out – Sunday ‘Bottomless Fiestas’ featuring endless endless margaritas and a three-course Cali feast for $75pp; and Wednesday night Barbaroca meat platters for $30pp which includes tacos, braised wagyu beef brisket, pulled pork and house pickles.