It’s now less than a month until one of my friends in Australia is returning back home to the UK to get married and to celebrate she and her fiancé invited us out to their pre-wedding shindig at El Topo in Bondi Junction.
El Topo is a cool Mexican restaurant with plenty of character, style and funky designs; however finding the place was easier said than done!
Located on level 3 in Westfield Bondi, we parked the car in the shopping centre (free parking after 7pm) and made our way up to level 3 in search of this El Topo restaurant. Now we were wandering all over the place and actually passed the place three or more times, not realising it was part of The Eastern. Once we finally caught on, we headed on through The Eastern towards the back and went up in the lift to the top level which is where El Topo was located (I think directions are definitely needed as it was not just us who had trouble finding this place! However we later discovered there is also an entrance via Oxford Street too.)
Of course, if you have seen it on the website then you will know El Topo is within The Eastern so that makes finding this restaurant much easier!
Once we arrived at the correct level, we were welcomed by some fun and uplifting Mexican music and we were greeted by the friendly waiter and shown to the table. We were located at the back of the restaurant in the open outside rooftop area which was bright and colourful and full of vibrant bold colours. I have never been to Mexico, but this is exactly what I would imagine Mexico to be like.
We were seated at a long table which would seat approximately 20 of us and I loved the white skeleton chairs to match the theme – there seemed to be skeletons and skulls everywhere along with colourful murals on the walls! Very Day of the Dead like! Even our table was brightly coloured and reminded me a bit of a mosaic with the coloured square patterns and the stone table.
Whilst we waited for the others to arrive, we decided to order some cocktails which all seemed to have a tequila base to them and lots of different versions of the good old classic Margarita. Of course in an establishment like this it would be a shame not to try out some of the other Margarita concoctions and they even do a Jalapeno Margarita if you like your drinks served with an extra kick! Although I love chili, I don’t really want to be drinking it so I opted for something fruitier and refreshing – a Tiki Margarita. Cocktails are around $16.50/$17, slightly cheaper than the standard city prices, and they were good!
If cocktails aren’t your thing then the El Topo beverage menu actually features close to 100 Mexican white spirits including five sotols, 20 mezcals and almost 80 tequilas! You can of course order beer or a glass of wine instead, with wines from right across the world including Spain, South America and Australia.
As we were such a large group we had the set dinner menu which cost $42 per head. We had some vegetarians and gluten intolerant diners at our table, but this was not a problem as the menu provided a good variety of options for vegetarians and gluten intolerant diners.
We began with the Totopos con Ambos (tortilla chips with avocado salsa and pico de gallo) and these helped us work up an appetite. The tortilla chip were ever so crunchy and the avocado salsa was extremely moreish (normally avocado makes me feel sick, but I tried it on this occasion and it was well made and well-seasoned, perfectly combined with the tomatoes).
Next up was the tacos and we had two different types that came out. First up was the Taco de Pollo Frito (Southern Fried Chicken, radish, corn, coriander salsa and chipotle mayo). We had one taco each and it was pure heaven with a good crunch from the fried chicken perfectly blended with the salsa and heat from the chilli. They sure love their chilli here which was a winner with me! We also had the Taco de Jaibas y Jalapeno (soft shell crab, mulato mayo, jalapeno and cactus salsa). Again there was enough for one each and this taco was equally as good (and spicy) as the chicken one before! I could have devoured the whole plate of tacos to myself!
El Topo restaurant has built up a reputation as one of Sydney’s most loved and talked about Mexican restaurant and rooftop bars and it is easy to see why. The food so far was absolutely delicious!
The great thing about eating with a group is that it allows you try many more dishes than if there was just two of you and we still had plenty more to come! It also gave us plenty of time to digest our food so we wouldn’t end up stuffed, at least not as quickly!
After our delicious tacos, we were treated to Quesadilla en Huitlocoche (Mexican truffle mushroom quesadilla, salsa verde and queso Oaxaqueno). This dish was pretty tasty and you could savour the hint of truffle running through it with the mushrooms. Yum!
From here, it was time for the larger plates, of which we had two dishes: Costilla de Res (slow cooked beef short rib, chipotle sauce, cherry tomatoes, mexi churri, jicama, fennel and coriander salad), as well as the Oaxaca barramundi fillet (pan seared with jalapeno, charred green tomato, roma tomato and cucumber salsa, fresh lime and micro herbs).
I tried the beef first and this was superbly tender and could be pulled apart with ease, whilst the fish was light, fresh and delicious. We also had the Smoked Pepper Enchiladas (goats cheese, tomatillo sauce, topped with mozzarella) and I loved the tomato with the cheese – cheese heaven!
Everyone seemed to be enjoying their meal at El Topo which could be seen from the amount of clean and empty plates left on the table!
Unexpectedly, we then had some Bunuelos con Chocolate as dessert (Mexican doughnuts and chocolate sauce); however the doughnuts were a little on the dry, doughy side. We weren’t expecting dessert as the hosts had brought along cake for the event; however the waiters didn’t add the doughnuts to the bill which was good of them.
Throughout the night, our waiters were very attentive, friendly and knowledgeable. They told us exactly what was infront of us when they served us and kept the table clear. However as we were sat out on the rooftop it got quite chilly so I would recommend bringing a jumper or extra layer with you just in case when you dine at El Topo.
Overall, the food at El Topo was excellent, along with the service and the atmosphere and décor was very Mexican inspired. It certainly is a place to remember and I will definitely return for more of those tacos, especially as I now know where this amazing Mexican restaurant is hidden!