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Lifestyle : Taste of Mexico Special Report 2013
1HERSA1 0019 Dome Restaurant @ The ArtHouse Level 1, 275 Pitt St, Sydney 9284 1200 thearthousehotel.com.au Dome Restaurant Dome Restaurant Dining in the CBD Any entrée & main from the a la carte menu plus a glass of Angove's wine $39pp With flavour matched wine $75pp A té& if 2 Course Winter Special Withfl thdi 5 Course Degustation iG6049685AA-280513 19 goodfood .com .au The Sydney Morning Herald Quest for authenticity: (From far left) Attila Yilmaz of La Lupita which has evolved from a taco stand to star at The Basement; tacos are simple pleasures; Yilmaz spit-roasts his meat over charcoal. aa My approach with Mexican food is that less is always more. bb Attila Yilmaz people coming together to eat, laugh, sing and dance and have a great time,'' Yilmaz says. He says the key to the quality of his tacos is the fact that he spit-roasts the meat over charcoal, which he says imparts a wonderful smoky, rich flavour. ''Mexican food is fresh, exciting, simple and honest,'' he says. ''My father was Turkish, and Mexican food is very similar to the Turkish way of eating in that it's all about family: it's tactile and raw and about sharing and letting the salsa dribble down your chin and licking your fingers and just having a great time. Cooking over an open fire also brings something primal to the equation.'' Executive chef Dan Hong became part of Sydney's Mexican wave when he was asked to open El Loco Excelsior and El Loco Slip Inn for Merivale. While the brightly coloured restaurants also nod to Mexico's street carts and taco trailers, Hong's menu is more a mash- up between Mexican and his Asian heritage. Hong also travelled to Mexico with an itinerary that focused on the tacos and tortas that make up a large chunk of his menu. ''I had no idea how good Mexican food could be until I went to Mexico,'' says Hong, who also is executive chef for Ms G's and Mr Wong. ''What strikes me about Mexican food is the freshness -- all those fresh herbs and salsas; it reminds me a lot of Vietnamese food. While Hong concedes El Loco is not 100 per cent authentic Mexican, the techniques and flavours take their cues from tradition. ''The Mexican flavours are there, but I've put a few little Asian tweaks in there to put my own little twist on it,'' Hong says. As well as selling a range of tacos, El Loco serves its signature torta: a Mexican sandwich with spit-roasted marinated pork served on a soft bun with cabbage, coriander, spring onion and enriched with mayonnaise and salsa. La Lupita @ The Basement, 7 Macquarie Place, Circular Quay, 9251 2797. El Loco @ Slip Inn, 111 Sussex Street, Sydney 8295 9999.
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