Josh Wiles and James Crowe had been cooking up the idea for Checho's for a while. Along with chef Salvatore Signorelli (ex-Mercado), they took the plunge in 2021. And for its first three weeks, their Mexican diner was completely booked out.
Housed inside a former dress shop, the restaurant’s eye-catching pink facade draws locals in from Penrith’s buzzing High Street. The interior is splashed in hues of pink and mauve, with brown bentwood chairs and pink-tiled tables and benches. Cacti are scattered throughout the restaurant, and a neon sign in the shape of a cactus illuminates the bar.
Signorelli’s menu is bursting with Mexican flavours. Tacos come in threes, filled with beef brisket, pulled pork, flathead, fried cauliflower or fried chicken. To share, you might find charred corn “ribs” with manchego, chipotle cream and lime; or kingfish ceviche with grapefruit and avocado. Crisp baby squid served with a side of lime caramel is a hero dish. For dessert, it might be classic churros with dulce de leche and vanilla-bean gelato; or a coconut sago with grilled pineapple, mango sorbet and passionfruit curd.
The bar serves around nine cocktails and more than 20 varieties of tequila. The classic Margarita is a must, as is the Checho’s signature with Calle 23 blanco, Cointreau, citrus syrup and lime. As well as being one of Penrith’s liveliest eateries, Checho’s is also a fixture in the area’s nightlife scene, thanks to its midnight licence.
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