OLÉ indeed, Daily Addicts! There’s a new Mexican-inspired restaurant in town with cosy booths, a soon-to-open outdoor patio and a lamb birria taco that’ll rock your caliente socks off.
Make your way to Kirribilli and prepare to eat, drink and be merry. There’s even plenty for veggos.
Located just off of Fitzroy Street, a short stroll from the Milson’s Point train station, Chico’s Mexican Bar and Grill is new to the scene but already bringing in packed crowds.
When we arrive extra early (excited much?) we decide to belly up to the bar so we can stalk everyone’s food, and soon every table in the place is filled with smiling faces and plates of authentic Mexican yummo. The servers are attentive and friendly, with California-born Ahmed Kalil, (of Neutral Bay’s WingMill fame) one of the owners, checking in with patrons, running food and basically keeping everything clocking like a well-tuned Swiss watch.
Sharif, Ahmed’s brother (and the co-owner), is Commander-in-Chief of the kitchen, whipping up Mexican-style magic.
They haven’t even advertised yet, and already word of mouth is approaching fever pitch.
“It was a long time coming,” Ahmed tells DA. “We wanted just the right spot, so the location was important, but we also wanted it to be done well. We watched a lot of Mexican chefs for technique and took our time.”
They also sourced an Australian supplier that specialises in importing Mexican ingredients and flavours.
We ask what we should have, and *rely largely on the staff’s recommendations. I decide on a freshly-juiced blood orange margarita ($21) on the rocks from the robust drinks menu, and the Mr orders a Pacifico ($12) ice-cold cerveza; both go down very smoothly with the salty-spicy piquant of the food.
First up is the Guac and Chips ($20) with pico de gallo on the side for dipping.
The crunchy corn chips are served warm(!) with score marks on them from being finished on the grill, and they’re the perfect tool for scooping up that generous serve of chunky green goodness (because guacamole should be chunky, full stop, and I’ll die on that hill!)
The salsa is limey and tingly with chunks of roasted tomato and onion and heaps of coriander. There are four to choose from, and you can dial up the heat with the hot sauces on hand.
Next up, Flautas (two for $12) with shredded beef or chicken wrapped in a thin corn tortilla, fried and served with sour cream, lettuce and pico. Fair warning, they’re crunchy and more-ish. After initially using my fork and knife, I resort to using my hands – and this, friends, is highly recommended.
The Mexican street corn, or Elotes, ( two for $10) is a no-brainer and dusted in secret house spices and Mexican crema… it’s delish.
Our cervicé ($12) is served to us on crispy blue corn tostadas, and one of these is a great little break for your palate. The prawns are marinated in a citrus blend with jalepeños for a welcome kick – just enough.
Another creative menu item is the Nopales tacos, made of grilled cactus and roasted corn with tomatoes, cilantro and onion.
But our favourite item of the night and one that I think will become their signature dish, was the Birria (lamb) tacos. We never order lamb, but the *staff insisted, and I’m so glad they did! Think golden brown crispy tacos stuffed with slow-cooked lamb, cheese and other goodies but also with a dipping broth consomme on the side that actually deserves its own place on the menu. SO. GOOD.
For dessert, treat yo’self to an indulgent churro – a cinnamon-dusted pastry with a sidecar of chocolate or salted caramel sauce, they’re big enough to share if you’re feeling gracious like that.
Maybe you should’ve worn stretchy pants?
Chico’s is open on Tuesdays to Sundays from 12-10, and bookings for dinner or large parties are recommended.
12 Fitzroy St, Kirribilli, 2061 Phone: 0432 050 331