When one door closes, another opens. That certainly rings true for the former Victorian mansion on the corner of Elliott and Darling Streets in Balmain. The site that once housed beloved Turkish diner Efendy is now home to Casa Esquina, a fiery Argentinian bar and diner from the team behind Paddington’s Tequila Mockingbird and Esteban in the CBD.

Owner Michael Fegent and head chef Will Quartel scoured the South-American country for inspiration and brought home the best bits to fill this two-storey stunner. From the open-flame cooking in the central kitchen to the monthly Asado sessions in the lively courtyard, it all feels like a slice of Buenos Aires in the inner-west.

The team are also spotlighting lesser-known Argentinian dishes (like Fugazzeta, a stuffed pizza) and familiar ones with Australian twists including ‘roo and maraschino cherry empanadas, and Cowra lamb sweetbreads. The menu is powered by the compact open kitchen and its parrilla grill, which fires out whole chickens, fish and premium steaks at speed.

Given who’s behind the place, it’s no surprise that the cocktail list is one of the suburb’s strongest. The signature Tequila Mockingbird (Patrón Silver, St Germain, agave, jalapeno, lemon) has made jump from Paddington to here – but the list also flaunts house creations including the Fernet Royale 23, mixing Fernet Branca, Cynar, Buenos Aires bitters and Coca Cola foam.

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Updated: March 29th, 2024

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