415 King St
Newtown, NSW 2042
If authentic Mexican food is what you’re after (I know, authentic Mexican food in Sydney! I couldn’t believe it myself!), Maiz Street Food is the place to go. There’s a fantastic dedication to traditional techniques and flavours, but often there’s a nice little modern twist thrown in as well. Not to mention, the light-filled courtyard, complete with a gorgeous loft, is an absolute vibe.
Rating: 14/20 – a-maiz-ing grace, how sweet the corn.
Good to know: try get a space in the loft if you can, it’s amazing on a nice day.
Esquites ($5) is a punchy little starter of corn soup, but not as you know it. Equal parts salty, spicy, tangy, and creamy, one spoonful will get the appetite going. If I were to nitpick, I would say that the corn isn’t quite as sweet and juicy as I’d hope, but it’s still very much a cracker of a snack(er).
Sope is traditional. Hibiscus is traditional. But Sope De Jamaica ($8ea)? Highly unusual. The crisp, light cake of fried masa is topped with a rich, nutty braise of hibiscus flowers cooked al pastor. Mixed through is creamy black beans to give it body, and it’s finished off with tangy chilli pineapple salsa. It may sound odd, but it really truly does work very well.
With the Molote de Longaniza ($11), think an empanada, except instead of a thick, deep-fried dough, you get a light, corn-based pastry. And in this case, it’s stuffed with a richly spiced Mexican green chorizo. You don’t even need the chilli mayo on the side.
The Tamal Verde ($29) is another great twist on a classic. You get your traditional steamed corn dumpling, stuffed with beans and topped with salsa and melted cheese (look at that golden melted cheese!). But you also get roasted kale, pickled beetroot, and spinach puree alongside. As sacrilegious as some of it may sound, it’s actually a great way to balance out the stodgy dish, and makes for a great one-stop vegetarian meal.
The Huarache de Cachete ($31) on the other hand is all carnivore joy. There’s a lovely hand-pressed tortilla sitting on the plate, but it really is just an excuse for the mountain of beef birria, cooked so long and slow that the meat falls apart into fatty, melt-in-the-mouth goodness.
There was no room for dessert by this point, but there was room for a cup of Cocoa ($6), made in the traditional Mexican style with water. Despite the lack of dairy, this was super rich and full in flavour, more akin to an espresso than a sugary drink. Call it a non-alcoholic digestif if you will.