It seems everyone is doing tacos these days. Even your every day cafe has a taco offering. But it’s not often you come across a place that feels genuinely Mexican. Authentic.
And Calaveras Mexican Cantina and Tequila Bar is legitimate, if nothing else. Run by folks with Mexican heritage. You can’t beat that for authenticity!
This place has a space for everyone. There’s the jam packed bar, which offers what seems like an endless supply of every type of tequila known to man. Even Mezcal which is a relatively unknown liquor (not tequila) but drunk by locals in Mexico. They also have your stock standard supply of alcoholic options.
For larger groups, the vast majority of the space is occupied by tables and chairs with comfortable throw cushions for your loud and boisterous tequila fuelled partying.
My poison of choice was the Death in Tijuana. Mezcal, fresh limes, pink grapefruit and pomegranate with a chilli salted rim. Yes! As delicious as it sounds. It was light, refreshing, only slightly sweet and with a god almighty kick from the Mezcal. Just kidding, it was a rather subtle kick, so it’s a delicious cocktail even for those who aren’t heavy drinkers.
Now what’s a Mexican cantina without good authentic guacamole! And this one was the best we’d had anywhere in the world. Homemade totopos made from blue corn. So rustic, you can see the groove marks on the blue corn chips. Absolutely superb, even without the guacamole! The guacamole was made with lime juice and pico de gallo salsa, and was fresh, zesty and delicious.
We then nibbled on the Ceviche de Pescado. Fresh fish cured in lime juice served with pico de gallo salsa on a corn tortilla. So good. Delicate morsels of fish with a zingy bite, fresh tomatoes and then the slight heat from the jalapenos. So good.
We were then recommended their Queso Fundido. Mozzarella baked in a traditional Mexican clay pot, topped with smoky chorizo and chipotle jam and served with salsa verde and flour tortillas. The picture speaks for itself but it was quite clear why this was one of their best sellers. Awesome cheesy goodness and an absolute must order dish!!!
The Al Pastor is their pulled pork guajillo taco topped with pineapple, coriander and onion. Apparently the most popular in Mexico and the most popular taco at Calaveras as well. This was a delicious medley of savoury pulled pork with a slight kick of heat, a heat that is instantly subdued by the sweet and fresh pineapples. A delightful taco and one of our favourite dishes of the night!
To ensure we had the full Mexican experience, we decided to try one last savoury dish. The Flautas de Pollo is handrolled crispy taquitos filled with pulled guajillo chicken and topped with chipotle mayo, fresh crumbled feta and coriander. Crunchy taquitos and deliciously marinated chicken. They also have an amazing array of salsas, so be sure to ask for the habanero (the hottest chilli in Mexico!!) if you dare!
To end on a sweet note, how could we bypass the churros. Traditional Mexican donuts coated in a generous amount of cinnamon sugar and smothered in warm nutella. Aaaagghhh, a sensational sugar hit to end this Mexican feast! And nutella really does enhance just about everything.
A sensational evening with warm genuine Mexican hospitality, delicious hearty authentic food and some lip smacking cocktails that are almost as tasty as the food! We can’t wait to return to Calaveras, this Newtown neighbourhood gem!
Calaveras Mexican Cantina and Tequila Bar
Level One, 324 King Street
Newtown, NSW 2042
Contributed by Susan who dined as a guest on behalf of 2 Hungry Guys