From the streets of Mexico to a former lunch bar in an industrial neighbourhood off the Northwestern Motorway; Cielito Lindo serves some of the most authentic Mexican street food in west Auckland.
The Concourse in Henderson is probably the last place you'd expect to discover cactus tacos. The unassuming eatery, found between scaffolding and drainage outlets, was launched in June by Eliseo Delgado Munoz and Angelina Febiyanti with the intention of showcasing traditional Mexican cuisine.
Named after the unofficial anthem of the nation (roughly translating as "beautiful sky"), Cielito Lindo is the first eatery from the pair since they arrived from Tejalpa Morelos, Mexico and Jakarta, Indonesia five years ago. The cafe and taqueria is hard to miss; its facade has been painted with thick stripes of bright blue, pink and yellow. The dining room is more modest, consisting of two long foldout tables, plastic Mexican flags on the walls and a bakery display cabinet hosting corn cake (pastel de elote) and chocolate brownie.
The menu offers staple entrees like chips with salsa and guacamole, though Angelina acknowledges that due to the availability of avocados in New Zealand it's only from time to time they have that option available. More substantial offerings include burritos (with the option to deep fry as the Mexican-American chimichanga), quesadillas and nachos.
The signature dishes are authentic tacos and sopes, a popular Mexican street food based on fried corn tortillas. The tacos ($4.7 each) are served with two layers of soft corn tortillas, something that Angelina suggests must be used to be considered authentic tacos. There are three fillings to choose from including beef cheek (taco de cachete), lamb (taco de borrego) and tender cactus (taco de nopales).
For the sopes, Eliseo uses a recipe passed on from his mother. The thick corn slabs are fried before being loaded with the choice of chicken in chipotle sauce, Mexican picadillo or refried black beans — and then topped with cheese and pico de gallo. In the coming months the pair expect to add more tacos and more varieties of Mexican food to the menu.