From the man behind Mexico, Orleans, Beirut and Oaken.
Javier Carmona is the man who can be held responsible for bringing things like fried chicken to Mexico; fried chicken and waffles to Orleans; melty smoked mozzarella to Oaken; and the striking bouquet on plate concept to Beirut. Five years on, and the executive chef has now branched out from the Mouthful Group mothership to "investigate some other ideas" and launch his own restaurant.
Together with business partner David, Javier was looking to create something of a semi-permanent offering, active over just three days. So when the opportunity arose to initiate a pop-up inside Avondale's Woodworks Café, they jumped at the chance to launch Etxeberria, a transient restaurant with foundations rooted in Spanish and Mexican cultures.
While the big picture is to locate a permanent site, the temporary spot at Woodworks suits the pair, "We like the nature of this arrangement and may look to another site to take the concept. It allows us to tweak it and evolve it into which ever space we move into next. In this way, we have the freedom to create and be expressive, without the added pressure of long term leases and ownership."
As a pop-up, the restaurant only operates after-hours from Thursday to Saturday. The Woodworks dining area is also cut in half to offer a more intimate and personal dining experience. Etxeberria can sit 30 diners at any given time.
The menu will "investigate the harmony and evolution" of Spanish and Mexican cuisines. Set to change weekly, current offerings include: raw corn ceviche with pomelo, corn ash, stained onion and fennel; a smoked nixtamal tostada, with green chorizo, fennel pollen and heirloom tomato seeds; a torta ahogada (or drowned sandwich) with pork cheek, fermented garlic, jamon water and achiote. They also make their own agua frescas (Spanish 'fresh waters') boasting interesting flavour combinations like: fermented corn, ginger, bees wax and piloncillo; alfalfa, wild weed and cane sugar.
Etxeberria is now open at 1790 Great North Rd, Avondale from Thursday to Saturday.