Only half the people head to The Picnic’s new Mexican pop-up for the Mexican food. The rest are more interested in the churros cart parked out front.

It’s one of the only places in Sydney you’ll find the deep-fried treats made fresh.

The team has this machine for it, kind of like a soft-serve device, where the dough is compacted and squeezed out into star-shaped dough. It’s then fried to order and sprinkled with whatever you like – coconut, Nutella, dulce de leche and various convenience-store candies. “Everyone thinking making churros is easy, it’s hard, bro. We went through maybe 70 batches but we were persistent as fuck,” says owner Jad Nehmetallah.

It’s the kind of thing you’d expect to find at a festival, a marketplace or on a street in Mexico, with the vibe that comes with it. Like during the day, the evening pop-up is all open air, bright colours and casual vibes. “I wanted to activate the space at night and Mexican came to my mind because it's fun, not done in Burwood and it's good for sharing. It's fresh and fun to muck around with,” says Nehmetallah.

He and head chef Darrell Gebilagin are behind the kitchen. Despite the fact there’s no licence (there’s Mexican colas instead), the food is oriented towards comfort and drinking. “We were inspired by Aaron Sanchez, the ‘taco king’ in America. We also got some books, visited some places here and I went overseas [to Central and South America],” says Nehmetallah.

The short menu has just four soft tacos and five sharing options. The taco (two for $12) is hearty and punchy, stuffed with pulled pork, pickled cabbage and black beans. It’s drizzled in Gebilagin’s heritage via the chipotle adobo sauce (smoked and dried jalapeños in a sweet and tangy puree of tomato, vinegar, garlic and spices). Tex-Mex options include a tart; spicy, crispy chicken wings; manchego-and-mayo covered corn; and quesadillas filled with typical cheeseburger ingredients and topped with sour cream. “It was Darrell's idea. It's amazing, it tastes just like a cheeseburger,” says Nehmetallah.

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Everything is also served packaged so that, if needed, you could take your food to go.

El Picnic
Burwood Park, corner of Park Avenue and Burwood Road
(02) 9745 1034

Thu to Sat 6pm – 10pm