While the initial plan was to take it slow, things have escalated rapidly since Johnston Street’s latest culinary addition quietly opened its unassuming backstreet courtyard for taco service just two weeks ago. Like all great romances, Mexican taqueria and cantina La Condesa’s courtship of the gastronomically adventurous yet discerning masses of Fitzroy is off to a passionate start – open from 11.30am until late into the eve, they’re spending practically all their time together.
On offer is a small but well executed menu of hongo, arrachera, chorizo, pescado and calabacitas tacos (that’s mushroom, steak, fish, pork or zucchini to the gringos), plus corn, refreshing homemade aguas frescas and a flan for afters, all served out of a remodelled wooden shed which sits adjacent to the kitchen. A slightly extended variety of fare, designed and executed by head chef and Fonda alumni Lupita Manzo, will launch alongside the eatery’s indoor dining area, which seats 70, and coincide with the end of prohibition in the form of a liquor license.
Although the city’s relatively recent influx of authentic Mexican eateries means that these days a burrito needn’t come as part of a fishbowl and sombrero package deal, La Condesa signals a considered departure from cultural caricature in favour of a warm experience that might be more than just a fleeting summer fling.