The Caravin team always keeps an eye on Potts Point real estate. So when the teeny spot on Llankelly Place, 170 metres away from their Parisian wine bar, became available, they were excited. Within a few months it was Tacos Tacos Tacos, a spot for … tacos.

Owners Greg Bampton, Phil Stenvall and Emily Nguyen (Caravin, now-closed Bar Suze) weren’t specifically searching for a Mexican hole-in-the-wall. Instead, they found a space then worked on a concept to fill it. “That’s the way we’ve always done it, cos the venue needs to match the energy of what you do,” Stenvall tells Broadsheet. “The venue spoke to us – it sounds wank-ish, but it did. We love Llankelly Place, it’s such a nice little laneway, so we had to do it.”

The taqueria is dressed minimally, but it has warmth, charm and the sense that it's been there forever. There's no indoor seating (just a bar table to lean on while you scoff your tacos), and there's only room for one in the kitchen: Joe Valero.

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The chef is from Guadalajara, and was most recently in the kitchen at Nikkei in Surry Hills. Before he moved to Oz, you could find him at Alcalde, the restaurant at number 37 on Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants List.

At Tacos Tacos Tacos, there’s a hot top where Valero slaps down rounds from La Tortilleria before one of six fillings is scooped in. A rainbow of pickled and spicy toppings hedges his work counter, where the morsels get their final dressings before heading to tables on silver plates.

“We want to make ourselves known for making tacos that are different,” Valero says. “We wanted to make a saucy, sloppy experience that you can, like, lose yourself into – we wanted to make tacos you had to lean into the table to eat.”

He’s focusing on less-used cuts of meat, and the line-up delivers six tacos that, on opening night, were strong contenders for the best in Sydney. But the star is the cochinita, where a south Mexican “citrusy, tangy” slow-braised pork shoulder joins the crunch of pork crackling, with a simple onion garnish. The cabeza delivers pig’s head topped with an earthy salsa macha, a chilli oil from Veracruz to which Valero has added peanuts.

“Cabeza – that’s our not-safe option,” Valero says. “I find a lot of people do pig’s head and they try to disguise it. But we want it to be a taco that is close to the experience you get with pork belly. Meaty, but still flavourful.”

There’s a beef suadero, with a brisket cooked in its own fat for “hours and hours and hours”, and a chicken tinga that’s rich with chipotle, adobo, tomato and onion, and warmed with spices. The smoky vegetarian taco delivers nopales (cactus) and frijoles. The lone quesadilla sandwiches a slab of charred haloumi and spoonfuls of salsa macha.

All of the sauces – bar the imported bottles on the help-yourself table outside – are made in-house by Valero. (The favourite was a fresh mezcal and orange salsa that cuts through the fattiness of the chicken tinga.)

After night one, the team are happy. A liquor licence is on the way (and there are Jarritos, Victoria-made Mateo sodas and aqua fresca until then), and heaters are at the ready. When booze is allowed, it’ll be canned beers and, probably, a Margy.

“We loved it,” Stenvall says after opening. “We tried the food continuously for the last few months, but it was just something different. It just tasted different when you’re in that space. We felt that Joe really cared, he was just so excited and proud. You can taste that.”

As for the name, it just made sense. “We had this beautiful neon sign made that’s like ‘Tacos Tacos Tacos’ and we were like, ‘You know what? That’s the name. What’s a better name to call it than Tacos Tacos Tacos?’”

Tacos Tacos Tacos
46 Llankelly Place, Potts Point

Tue to Fri 4.30pm–8.30pm
Sat midday–8.30pm