Chilpa (a slang term for “kid” in Mexico) is the second venue by Gerardo Lopez and Diana Hull, who also run Kensington’s La Tortilleria and supply white-corn tortillas and tortilla chips to restaurants and boutique grocers across Australia.
The space (formerly home to Hot Lips Hacienda) has 75 seats, a fully stocked bar and large tables that can accommodate entire families.
The menu features tacos filled with pulled meats, fish and plant-based meat substitutes by Fable; crisp-on-the-outside, melty-on-the-inside quesadillas; and crunchy tostadas and chilaquiles (a dish similar to nachos). Unlike its Kensington sibling, Chilpa has the advantage of a chargrill. It adds a distinctive smoky flavour to several dishes, shining brightest on Lopez’s favourite – alambre de asada, or chargrilled beef with assorted veggies and bacon, topped with melted cheese.
The cracking drinks list features an extensive array of tequilas and mezcals; four types of Margarita (smoky, spicy, classic and Jimmy’s); local and imported wines; and Mexican lagers such as Pacifico and Dos Equis, which you can enjoy as is or in a Michelada (beer, lime, hot sauce and clamato juice with a Tajin-salt rim).
The interior has the same warm, welcoming vibe as its predecessor. Its deep colour palette is offset by traditional tapestry wall-hangings and a peachy-pink exterior. Before you leave, be sure to pick up some house-made tortillas, salsas and a few pre-prepped meals for home.
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