It started with a simple question Quick Brown Fox co-owner Ben Calabro posed to his partner, Anna Mavromatis, during yet another lockdown night spent in front of Netflix: “Have you seen the movie Chef?”
“That’s exactly the vibe we want to bring,” Calabro explains to Broadsheet of his latest venture, Buen Taco, a playful late-night pop-up taqueria at outstanding Pyrmont cafe Quick Brown Fox, which has closed for the duration of lockdown.
“We’ve been watching a lot of Netflix and food programs,” Calabro admits. One being the movie Chef, which stars Jon Favreau as a chef who loses his job and opens a buzzing food truck. Another, a series called Taco Chronicles, sent Calabro, Mavromatis and Quick Brown Fox head chef Regan Bagshaw into a taco-eating tailspin.
“The amount of research and development [Bagshaw] has done on this is huge,” says Calabro. “While I turned to Netflix, he went to Youtube and found all these videos from proper Mexican taquerias that had to be translated.”
From a “makeshift store” at the front of the Union Street cafe, with its own fun signage and branding, they’ll be serving four types of taco from Wednesday. They include the succulent birria taco, which is crammed with slow-cooked shredded beef, queso asadero (cheese), onion and coriander. It’s made even more glorious with a dipping sauce made from the juices of the slow-cooked meat, combined with three kinds of smoked Mexican chilli – chipotle, pasilla and arbol.
Another is the carnitas, served on a blue-corn tortilla and stuffed with pulled-pork shoulder that’s coated in a house-made rub and slow-cooked for 12 hours.
The tacos come in serves of three, but you can (and should) also add a spiced-apple enchilada drizzled with mole-spiced chocolate sauce and a frozen Margarita to your order. For those who find decisions daunting, the Couple’s Pack will get you what you need: two serves of tacos, a side (choices include cheesy beans, spiced Mexican rice and a green salad) and two Jarrito soft drinks.
“Just like with everything we do at Quick Brown Fox, everything is made from scratch,” explains Calabro. “There’s no stocks or powders; everything is done the same way we always would, which makes it a natural progression for us.”
Since Calabro first opened the cafe with his sister Emily Calabro (who’s not involved in the pop-up) in 2019, they’ve been trying to develop a nighttime aspect to the business, but nothing has felt quite right until now. The taqueria will initially run for two months, until early October, but the hope is it evolves into a more permanent fixture well after lockdowns have lifted.
Contactless orders can be placed through the takeaway coffee window that opens onto the street, and delivery is available within a 10-kilometre radius. Designed for takeaway, with custom-branded stickers and purpose-made taco trays, it’s all very bright and fun.
“We’ll be there blasting the soundtrack of Chef into the streets, and just trying to have a good time,” says Calabro. “That’s really all we are trying to do – bring a bit of fun into everyone’s day during such a serious time.”
Buen Taco by QBF
22 Union Street, Pyrmont
(02) 9660 6345
Wed to Sat 5pm–9.30pm