La Lupita at The Basement, Circular Quay
Noodlies, Sydney food blog rides the latest Mexican wave
His warehouse wonderland in Canterbury is on hold as Attila Yilmaz moves La Lupita to The Basement. Tonight noodlies is enjoying Mariachi Monday at La Lupita, sipping margaritas and swallowing soft and spicy tacos.
The concept is super simple, move along the canteen style counter, choose your meat, chicken, beef or pork with freshly grilled soft tortillas, add your filling: cucumber, pickled vegetables, shredded red cabbage then choose from five colourful salsas: fiery orange habanero or lime green verde to milder tomatillo and guacamole. This is your taco, your way.
All the while, enjoy energetic and sometimes sexy Latin music washed down with warming margaritas.
The Basement is built for live music with a stage and small dance floor being the central attractions. Around the stage are tables and the raised area immediately behind is the long, wooden bar with stool seating. To the right of the stage is the canteen taco station. Into the fifth week at The Basement, La Lupita is still finding it’s groove and with time and word-of-mouth, suited gringos will probably flock to Sydney CBD’s latest Mexican.
At Canterbury, the tortillas are grilled on order and meat rotisseried over coals in view of diners. At the Basement, the tortillas are still made front of house and Yilmaz assures noodlies, while the meat is done in the kitchen, it’s still cooked in the same way as in Canterbury. Noodlies’ favourite taco is the combination of smoky chicken, pickled carrots and cauliflower and fiery habanero salsa, lots, lots of habanero. On dark plates, the soft tacos and their fillings look superb, even if, the low lighting and noodlies’ inebriated, shaky photo-taking state, render the photos a lot less tantalising.
Stunning also are the nachos, playful, juicy corn and protein rich red beans, they’re not drowned in rich sauce allowing your taste buds to savour individual ingredients, particularly crispy corn chips. The red bean taco benefit from playful stringy cheese topping, for corn nachos it’s a grated snow dome of queso fresca cheese. Sadly the chicken wings were sold out.. but noodlies will be back.
As we while away the night, Penny, Simon and I have way, way too many margaritas, salty but sweet, chilled but warming – glass after glass, we are addicted, to the taste and how they’re made – see how they’re made in the noodlies video above.
There’s no doubting the marriage of La Lupita and The Basement makes sense – ahem, fun Mexican and lot’s of liquor are hand-in-glove. Transplanted into a CBD environment crawling with thirsty suits, once word gets out, noodlies reckons La Lupita will be another Mexican hit.
And Canterbury? No matter how many times noodlies probes, Yilmaz will only answer enigmatically “something will happen, there”.
7 Macquarie Place, Circular Quay
(02) 9251 2797