El Publico, Mt Lawley

In Perth, it seems that opening your average Mexican restaurant comprises little more than ordering vats of refried beans and hanging tacky sombreros on the walls. But if you’re part of a trio of restauranteurs keen to create Perth’s most authentic Mexican restaurant, you do things a little differently. You take a mezcal-feuled tour around Mexico, you taste absolutely everything, and – most importantly – you leave your head chef behind for a month to learn a thing or two.

For Greenhouse co-owner Paul Aron and Cantina 663‘s Michael Forde and Alex Cuccovia, the result of their Mexican exploration is newly opened Mt Lawley restaurant El Público.

They, along with head chef Sam Ward, have created a truly authentic menu. There are Mexican street snacks like the esquites: charred kernels of barbecued sweet corn tossed in chilli mayonnaise, lime and a soft feta-like cheese. Or there’s the gorgeous entrée salmon aquachile jalapeno coriander, a cold dish of ceviche-style raw salmon in a spicy-yet-creamy coriander sauce. Our favourite dish might be the cajeta flan dessert, made with caramelised goat’s milk, pureed bananas and homemade peanut ice cream with a crispy sesame biscuit. It tastes even better than it sounds.

The secret to El Público’s amazing mix of flavours is that nearly all the produce is organic and sourced locally – yes, even the eight types of chillies.

But the mezcal and tequila? Don’t worry – it’s all imported from Mexico. The more than 60 varieties are meant to be savoured, not shot.

Turns out that Mexican food is more than guacamole and greasy enchiladas. Who knew?

(Also published in AgendaCity)

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Categories: Bars, Restaurants

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