Three days a week during lockdown, Surry Hills cafe Paddock would transform into Mexican street-food pop-up Tacos Muchachos. People living within a five-kilometre radius would emerge to order spirit-lifting tacos, nachos and burritos stuffed with slow-cooked beef, chipotle and adobo-rubbed chicken, or quesabirria with consomme, all washed down with tart Margaritas. It’s since found a permanent home at the Hotel Hacienda in Redfern.
The sleek space is a far cry from its original, no-frills pop-up, but the menu still revolves around house-made tortillas with slow-cooked beef, chipotle chicken, and adobo cauliflower, as well as quesabirria tacos – a quesadilla-taco hybrid fried to crispiness in meat fat, with an accompanying warm sauce of meat juices, chilli and coriander for dunking. There’s also tacos al pastor – pork cooked on a vertical spit.
Besides the great food and selection of refreshing Margaritas, the venue itself is a big draw card: the flecked polished-cement floor and long, tiled bar are clean and minimalist. Cacti in terracotta pots dot the room, and colourful tasselled hangings and pompom throw blankets over leather couches add colour to the warm, neutral-toned space.