Gelato Messina Rosebery Carpark
112 Rothschild Ave
Rosebery, NSW 2018
After a decidedly flaccid meal at Gringo’s earlier in the week, it would be an understatement to say that that my Mexican craving remained unsatisfied. But despite my constant complaints that there was nowhere to get good tacos in Sydney, there’s actually been a promising candidate on my radar for the last 6 months or so – Rico’s Tacos.
So if Rico’s is so promising, why has it taken me so long to visit? The answer is a simple one: sheer laziness. But when I actually made the drive down to Rosebery, I was kicking myself for not having come down sooner. The vibe is fantastic on a sunny Saturday afternoon, the young, happy crowds surrounding the taco truck giving the scene a distinct party vibe, especially with the big ol’ neon sign for Gelato Messina’s headquarters forming the backdrop. And yes! That does indeed mean that you can get gelato for afters!
Being a truck and not a brick-and-mortar store, there’s only 4 tacos on the menu (3 regulars and a weekly special), as well as a couple of sides and pre-made drinks. But that’s not a problem; it’s quality and not quantity I’m after here, and a quick chat with the ever-so-lovely staff revealed that they source their tortillas from La Tortilleria, aka where every good Mexican place in Melbourne gets their tortillas. This is sounding better by the second.
I wanted to get the party started with a glass of horchata, but unfortunately the last one was sold just a few moments prior, so I had to make do with the Hibiscus and Lemon Myrtle Iced Tea ($6). Not that this was any great hardship; instead of being syrupy sweet, this was delicately flavoured with floral and herbal notes, and a refreshing accompaniment to the taco feast I was about to embark on.
The Chorizo ‘Al Pastor’ ($6ea) looked and smelt the part, and one bite confirmed that this is by far the best taco in all of Sydney. The ground chorizo is indulgently salty and fatty with just a hint of chilli, the rich flavours contrasting with a wedge of fresh pineapple and scattering of onions. Of course, this would all be nothing without a good tortilla, and as I said earlier, La Tortilleria is the best. Coarsely ground with a golden hue, these fragrant rounds had a satisfyingly hearty texture, and were good enough to eat on their own. And for those of you who have never had your taco double-wrapped like these ones here, trust me – it is the way to go.
The other standout was the Beef Birria ($6ea), which was braised in a lusciously rich and smoky sauce until it falls apart into a stew. Garnished simply with chilli sauce, onions, and coriander to cut through the heavy flavours, this is simple yet endlessly satisfying.
The third and final permanent fixture on the menu is the Cauliflower Taco ($6ea) – a lighter option of fried cauliflower, chipotle, tahini, and green salsa. Whilst I enjoyed the creaminess of the sauce and the smokiness of the cauliflower, it just doesn’t hold a candle to the chorizo and beef.
The special of the week was the Eggplant Barbacoa ($6ea), which was a slow-roasted eggplant with a tomatillo and chipotle salsa. This was definitely the weakest of the bunch; the flavours just didn’t jump out at me, and whilst it certainly wasn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, I certainly wouldn’t go out of my way to order this again.
I feel like a broken record saying yet again that Rico’s does the best tacos in all of Sydney, but it’s certainly better than my previous lament of how there’s no good tacos in Sydney at all. Despite the less inspiring veggie options, it is clear that know exactly what they’re doing here, as the meat tacos are among the best I’ve ever had. Maybe one day I’ll start craving a bit more variety than just beef and chorizo, but for now, this is everything I’ve been wanting for the last 3 years.
Rating: 15/20 – this is the one!
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.