Emerging at the former site of District Dining near Central Station, the aptly named Mexico Food and Liquor is part of a mini-franchise that began with two locations on New Zealand’s North Island. The interior has that warm, candlelit glow that seems to accompany practically every recent opening, from Santa Barbara in Kings Cross to Queenie’s above The Forresters.

With hundreds of photos of Latino iconography (in this case, banditos and chillies) covering the walls, burritos and quesadillas filling the menu and over 100 tequilas on offer, this is one venue pushing the Mexican wave a little further than most. The menu is divided between snacks, such as tostaditas with crab (topped with lime, grape and green onion mojo), soft shell tacos with a choice of pork, beef brisket, anise-blackened chicken, or pan-fried fish. The quesadillas have a chilli kick and are generous in proportion. The entire menu is designed to be shared, after all. The standouts – fried chicken and the chipotle-lime ceviche – complement each other perfectly: one spicy, the other cleansing. As for desserts, the chilli, cinnamon and chocolate ganache olive oil cake (with a dollop of yoghurt) carries on down the same flavoursome path.

The wait staff are decked out in all things floral, explosions of red flowers adorn their heads. The atmosphere is comfortable and not particularly raucous, considering the availability of numerous dynamite beverages being poured into shot glasses.

Ride this Mexican wave – it’s a cosy extension of the El Loco experience round the corner.

Mexico Food and Liquor
17 Randle Street, Surry Hills
(02) 9211 7798

Daily noon–late