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By Leisha Kapor
March 04, 2020
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La Palma

Head to the leafy courtyard, order a daiquiri and devour a plate of jerk chicken.
By Leisha Kapor
March 04, 2020
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UPDATE: MAY 13, 2020 — La Palma is reopening for dine-in service from Friday, May 15 for private events of up to ten people only. Private functions will run for 2.5 hours and include bottomless margaritas and tacos, plus select beer and wine for $105 per person. To book, call (02) 8386 6874, email info@lapalma.com.au or direct message via Instagram.

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Pablo Galindo Vargas and Liber Osorio, the team behind Bondi restaurants Taqiza and Carbon, and Potts Point's Sonora, have been spreading Mexican food across Sydney. With La Palma, the Mexico City-born pair teamed up with Joaquin Saez (Cho Cho SanThe Apollo) and shifted its gaze slightly east to the Caribbean. The results: a rum bar serving up cocktails and Cuban sandwiches on Bondi's Hall Street.

La Palma is designed to look like a Havana bar from the 1920s and 30s, when the tourism and hospitality industries were booming (partly thanks to prohibition in America). To that end, the bar is filled with rattan seating, wicker pendant lights and a timber-clad bar with lots of green marble. The outdoor area — decked out with palms, banana leaves and other plant life — is a go-to for post-work cocktails during the warmer months.

In the kitchen, husband-and-wife duo Maryann Yong and Mario Malvaez are dishing up a menu heavy on traditional Caribbean and Central and South American flavours. Peruvian anticuchos (grilled meat skewers) are a highlight and come in three varieties: short rib lathered in adobo sauce, octopus and blood sausage with chimichurri, and salmon belly with yuzu koshu. More substantial bites include the Cuban sandwich with roasted pork belly, whole-grilled market fish, grilled jerk spatchcock and wild mushroom quesadillas.

To finish, there are just two desserts: Mexican buñuelos — a deep-fried cinnamon fritters with pineapple, mango and coconut — and Cuban sweetcorn cakes served with spiced rum cream.

The man behind the bar at Sonora, Rafael Redant, has crafted the cocktail list here as well. Embracing rum in all its iterations, Redant has put a spin on mojitos, daiquiris, mai tais and piña coladas for the La Palma menu, as well as delivering a range of creative new concoctions. There's the Miami Splice (a cross between a piña colada and a japanese slipper), the Dive Master (starring white and dark rum, spiced cacao butter syrup, yuzu and orange) and the Rice Bubbles — vodka-infused Rice Bubbles milk, pandan, macadamia liqueur and a splash of citrus.

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