When Ricos Tacos announced it was closing up its Chippendale spot last month, Sydneysiders were placated with the assurance that “greener pastures await”. The greener pastures are those at 100-year-old Redfern watering hole The Norfolk, Public Hospitality Group’s Cleveland Street pub that’s just a one-kilometre walk from the former corner spot.
“With the resources and space we have, we can really ramp up the experience,” Ricos founder and executive chef Toby Wilson tells Broadsheet. Jon Adgemis, executive chairman at Public, said in a statement that Ricos Tacos at The Norfolk will “complete the precinct”, which includes vermouth-driven Spanish wine bar La Salut next door. The two-storey venue is set to deliver big-time party vibes with the Maybe Group driving the drinks menu.
The food will remain true to what we know Ricos to be, with the lunch and dinner menus combining into a bumper all-times menu. Expect the usual tacos plus a weekly rotating special, corn chips with your choice from a trio of dips, a half-chicken, salad and chips combo and a few tostadas. Ice-cream sandwiched between spiced chocolate biscuits is on the way, too. “It’s all about championing the things that we’ve always done, that represent us well,” Wilson says. “The al pastor is our main thing, and the hashbrown will still be there. Then just a couple of dishes that are better for sharing.”
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The Norfolk’s upstairs bar will become Club Ricos, a lounge inspired by Mexican sports bars of the 1960s. It’ll be open whenever the venue is, with the same food menu as downstairs. The team hopes when the courtyard closes, everyone will head upstairs to party. “[At off-peak times] it’ll be a nice lounge to sit in, with music that’s a little more relaxed,” says Wilson. “But during the night, we’re gonna really ramp it up.”
Closing out the week is Carne Asada Sundays, Wilson’s take on a Sunday roast where a charcoal barbeque will be fired up in the breezy, plant-filled beer garden. “In Mexico and Mexican communities, you’ll often get these big garden carne asada barbeques where a family will gather. We’ll be grilling steaks, and you can get vegetable sides and salsas."
And whether the pancakes doused in chorizo syrup, the special that shot to fame during lockdown, will get a permanent spot on the menu? “No plans for them yet. We still closely guard the recipe, so when the right opportunity presents itself I’m sure they’ll make an appearance.”
Meanwhile Public Hospitality Group is becoming known for partnering with big-deal chefs – signing up Automata’s Clayton Wells as creative culinary director and Melbourne’s Guy Grossi for the brand’s first Victorian venue, Puttanesca, last month.
Ricos Tacos at The Norfolk is set to open in late September 2023.