Taco Tuesdays, a sweet sound to any cheapskate’s ears. After imbibing a few drinks at the preview of Justus magazine, we eagerly tottered down to the Norfolk to get our taco on.
Despite arriving fairly late, the garden area is still packed out so we settle for a newly vacated table at the front. The menu does offer a selection of fairly traditional pub grub (burgers, schnitzels, steak, fish and chips) but it’s no secret everyone’s here for the soft shell tacos.
Pork soft shell taco: braised pork neck, onions, cabbage, apple & Nopales Mojo Verde, coriander $3 (normally $5.50)
We placed our order at the bar and it’s not long before the waitress swoops over with a giant tray and starts offloading these babies and break neck speed. The first to greet my stomach was the pork taco: deliciously soft and flavoursome pork neck married with the fresh crunch of cabbage and apple.
Beef: beef brisket, queso fresco, scallions & lime, salsa mojo $3 (normally $5.50)
I didn’t try the beef but can only assume they were quite good if the rate at which they were consumed provides some indication of tastiness.
Chicken: chargrilled chicken thigh, red onion & cucumber salsa, guacamole, lettuce, chipotle mayo $3 (normally $5.50)
The chicken is probably the lesser surprise and sticks to more or less the simple flavours of onion, avocado and mayo.
Fish soft shell taco: grilled fish, achiote paste, lettuce, pico de gallo, lime $3 (normally $5.50)
What I was really looking forward to was the fish taco, a delicious strip of grilled fish marinated in achiote paste (generally a blend of spices including annatoo, Mexican oregano, cumin, clove, cinnamon, black pepper, all spice, garlic and salt) and served with a dollop of what I assume is tomato, white onion and chilli. People don’t normally associate fish with tacos but this is by far one of the tastiest combinations finished off with a small wriggle of heat. They’re so good I’m keen to make some myself and found quite a fetching recipe from Food Safari to try out.
The waitresses spend all night running around handing out the never ending taco orders, perhaps a good time to ask management for a pair of skates?
Fried Chicken Wings: with hot sauce and red eye mayo $13.50
The multitude of additional bar snacks on the menu were just too tempting, although we were here for the tacos we couldn’t help but slip in an order of fried chicken wings: hot out of the deep fryer and speckled with pepper and chilli we finished these off as quickly as possible while tossing the hot morsels from hand to hand.
Despite being advertised as snacks, a few tacos each were enough for the three of us to reach full capacity and after the finger lickin’ tasty ending of some friend chilli chicken, the question of dessert doesn’t even arise.
It’s a cheerful and easy place with casual bar staff and a running special for every day of the week. The times I’ve visited, the place has been fairly packed out and can get a bit stuffy so the outdoor area at the back is especially sweet, lit up by hanging lanterns and some colourful fairy lights. Don’t try to be an individual and just come on Tuesdays for the Tacos like half the neighbourhood has, after all who can say no when something so delicious is only $3?
a. 305 Cleveland Street Surry Hills
t. 9699 3177