The Butler celebrates Mexican flavours with seven weeks of regional specials

The Butler is a Sydney institution; loved for its iconic views of the city, warm service, Iberico-American food (aka countries or territories where Spanish or Portuguese are predominant language), cocktails and that oh so coveted terrace that makes you want to be a social over#sharer.

Chef Amber is up to her senstational tricks (trips) – with a seven week romp across the Yucatan Peninsula with two different ‘Serve & Sip’ dishes every week.

We arrive on a Friday night and the place is buzzing. We are seated outside under a heater (thank you!) and our server is talking us through the wine and cocktail list. We are in Week 2, so it is rude not to order the drinks special of Origen Raiz Chacaleño Mezcal. It’s spectacular. Almost whisky-like in its complexity and smokiness. We can’t stop sniffing the glass even when its empty. The aroma is intoxicating.

Kingfish Aguachile starts the night. Furls of raw kingfish lie on a dressing of coconut, watermelon, baby cukes, avocado, herb oil topped with orbs of smoked caviar pearls. It is the highlight of the evening, before we even know it.


Two tacos of Pipian chicken (best known as green mole) has its origins in Aztec cuisine. They are a mellow blend of green vegetables and pumpkin seeds, with avocado, lime pepitas. Solid, flavourful and does the job!

Onto the grown up stuff with ‘Principales’. Head chef Amber Doig nails it with a beautiful bowl of picture perfect NT barra, with golden crispy skin and creamy buttery flesh sitting ontop of a green pash of pistachio mole verde. It’s simply delicious and thoughtfully segmented for easy eating.

The other special for week two is a Mexican staple – Carne Asada. Here our Riverina Angus rib eye is thinly sliced allowing us to taste its charred magnificence thanks to a delicate marinade. The flour tortilla and salsa isn’t really needed here, but a nice option if that’s how you want to roll with it. The steak is magnificent on its own.

The only dish to rival the aguachile are the scallops from North America. They are sweet, fleshy, caramalised in the right places snoozing on a bed of garbanzo (chick pea) bean cream, habanero, salmon roe salsa, ancient amaranth grains. Its a delight and a dish we would go back to any time.

cocktails at The Butler

The cocktails here are a real draw card and tonight they deliver with a ‘Hidden Agenda’ which is a balanced blend of jalapeño infused illegal Mezcal, Aperol, lime, falernum. The Spicy Margarita is a firey mix of 21 Jalapeñ0 infused Olmeca Altos Plata Tequila, triple sec, lime, sugar. It doesn’t knock your socks off but perhaps your kitten heels!  

‘Plantas’ sides of flash fried cauliflower with golden tinges enhanced by generous lashing of brown butter sliced almonds along with a plate of small cobs of sweetcorn doused in ricotta salata with a cheeky chipotle emulsion say viva Mexico!

Seven weeks, fourteen unique dishes, cocktails and countless hours of adventures lie ahead. Rock on week Three we say!

The Butler 123 Victoria Street, Potts Point, 2011
Weekly specials being released during August to 11th September

AUGUST:WEEK TWO: The North – ‘Norte’ (Baja, Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Aguascalientis, Nuevo leon, Tamaulipas and Zacatecas)

Serve: ‘Carne asada’ – 250g Riverina angus rib eye lightly marinated, cooked simply over searing hot coals, chopped thinly, seasoned, and served on a flour tortilla with salsa and fresh garnish. The Northern region of Mexico has a bias towards flour tortilla, as the region is one of the few whose terrain is better suited to growing wheat over corn.
Sip: ‘Origen Raiz Chacaleño Mezcal’ – Located in the north of Durango is a sub-tropical valley surrounded by mountain ranges creating a unique microclimate, making this mezcal truly special. Served neat.

WEEK THREE: North Pacific Coast – ‘Pacifico Norte’ (Sinaloa, Najarit, Jalisco and Colima)
Serve: ‘Prawn Aguachile’ – King prawns, cured in lime, bathed in water spiked with green chiles, a Sinaloa native.
Sip: ‘Guadalajara Punch’ – Seasonal citrus fruit, fresh lime, Olmeca Altos Blanco Tequila, grapefruit soda. Served over regular ice in a clay pot, with tequila on the side. Garnished with sliced seasonal fruit.

WEEK FOUR: Central Mexico – ‘Central’ (Puebla, Morelos, Tlaxaca, Mexico City and Hidalgo)
Serve: ‘Mole Poblano’ – Served with grilled spatchcock, sesame tortilla, radish and shaved cabbageThe famous, labour intensive, mysterious, complex dish has no less than 20 ingredients in its creation.
Sip: ‘Mezcal De Leyendas Puebla Pichumel’ – Puebla is a small town that sits on a spectacular nature reserve in the Sierra Madre Oriental, southeast Mexico. Blessed with biodiversity the mezcal produced is incredible. Served neat.

WEEK FIVE: The Gulf – ‘Golfo’ (Tabasco and Veracruz)
Serve: ‘Snapper a la Veracruzana’ – Baked snapper fillet, tomato, chiles, capers, olives, a reflection of indigenous & Mediterranean fusion in the area where the first Spanish conquistador came ashore.
Sip: ‘Michelada’ – Clarified Tomato, black sauce, tobasco, lime, chilli salt, cerveza. Dating back to the 20th Century. Served in a highball over regular ice, garnished with a chilli salt and a wedge of lime.

—–SEPTEMBER Specials will run from Mon 29 Aug – Sun 4 Sept
WEEK SIX: South Pacific Coast – ‘Pacific Sur’ (Oaxaca, Guerrero and Chiapas)
Serve: ‘Tlayuda’ – Crisp corn Tortilla with asiento, black bean puree, Mexican red chorizo, Oaxaca cheese, radish, shaved cabbage, salsa verde, pico di gallo. A dish often found on the street stalls in cities and villages in the Oaxaca region.
Sip: ‘Green Chile & Coriander Margarita’ – alapeño Chile infused Los Siete Misterios ‘Doba Yej’ Espadin Mezcal, coriander root, lime, agave. Oaxaca is the homeland of Mezcal production in Mexico, with the Espadin agave being the most cultivated, and most popular for cocktails across the globe. Served over a block of ice in a rocks glass, garnished with a thin slice of Jalapeño Chile.

WEEK SEVEN: The Bajio – ‘Bajio’ (Michoacan, Guanajuato, San Luis Potosi and Queretaro)
Serve: ‘Buenuelos with Cajeta’ – Fried doughnut fritters with cinnamon vanilla, citrus, ricotta and served with Cajeta (Mexican goats milk caramel)The Bajio is renowned for sweeter treats beloved across Mexico, Greater Central & South America.
Sip: ‘Derrumbes San Luis Potosi Mezcal’ – Derrumbes San Luis Potosi is crafted exclusively from the Salmiana Crassispina wild agave that grows in the high plateau of San Luis Potosi. Served neat.

About the author

Karen’s corporate job back in the UK had included entertaining clients in some of the best restaurants. This ultimately sparked a curiosity 'Just how do they do that?' (she confesses she was brought up on meat and vegetables, so this was all very exciting). Currently a Mr & Mrs Smith 'Tastemaker', she’s flashpacked around the world, learning about wine, experiencing different cultures and cuisines and had a two- year love affair with it all. Originally from England, she finally settled in Australia and continues to be besotted by food, wine and travel preferring to focus on the luxury end of town (thread count does matter).


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