It’s all about the lanes right now. From Winn (Ben’s Burgers), to Burnett (Super Whatnot) and Fish (Hello Please), Brisbane’s back alleys are being transformed into centres for food, fashion and nightlife.
You know things are getting serious when Chingón is the latest leader of the revolution. The Balleau brothers’ much-loved Melbourne taqueria has been brought to town by the team behind Brooklyn Standard (Emmanuel Sakellarakis, Justin De Beer and Adam Barton), opening next door to that Eagle Lane venue.
“There’s enough shit Mexican out there,” Sakellarakis says. “We really felt that there was a hole in the market in the city. We’re not trying to over complicate it. It’s the beauty of simplicity – there’s nowhere to hide in a taco.”
And with a menu that features only seven mains and a handful of sides, chef Evan White (Red Hook) has his work cut out for him (or not, depending on how you look at it).
Hand-pressed soft tortilla tacos are available individually ($6.50) or as a share plate of four ($23) and feature combinations such as the de Pollo (orange and honey charcoal chicken, pickled slaw, pico de gallo and cheese) and Al Pastor (chargrilled achiote pork, pineapple-and-capsicum salsa, crema and cheese).
A bunch of dips (salsas and guacamole) served with tortilla chips, stretch out the menu, while a highlight is the Elote en Vaso – “crack corn” as Sakellarakis puts it – fire-roasted corn off the cob, drizzled with fresh lime, and topped with chipotle crema and cheese.
The space itself is loud and raucous. Step off Eagle Lane and you’re transported into a grungy world of tequila in dark corners. The whole place has the feel of lively Mexican cantina, the character delivered by a DIY fit-out largely completed by the Brooklyn Standard crew.
In that sense, Chingón often feels more bar than restaurant, with the alcohol strong and flowing freely. Cocktails draw inspiration from Mexico, as does the delicious house sangria, beers are mostly imports, there’s ample tequila and an eclectic offering of South American wines.
Sakellarakis doesn’t dismiss the opportunity for further development from his partners on Eagle Lane. “There’s certainly an appeal for laneways to become active, and bring these neglected funky spaces back to life,” he says.
Eagle Lane, Brisbane
0405 414 131
Mon to Thur 12pm–12am
Fri to Sat 12pm–2am