With a bigger venue at their fingertips, Sean and Luke saw an opportunity to take Chica Bonita’s food offerings up a notch. Don’t panic: you can still tuck into fish tacos with baja sauce, cabbage, coriander and lime to your stomach’s content. But, Huera, who grew up with a mother and grandmother who loved to cook, has brought in some dishes of his own.
“We used to go to my grandmother’s house every Sunday and she would cook a big feast for all of us. She would buy everything at the market the day before, then wake up at six o’clock to start.” And his mum’s cooking was so delicious that other people ordered her dishes.
One of them is rajas con crema, a sauce made of cream and poblano (a green chilli pepper). It’s on the Chica Bonita CBD menu – in a taco, with Oaxaca cheese and lemon balm. “My mum was famous for this – people would call and ask for two kilos,” Huerta says. “I’m so looking forward to people trying the dishes that made me fall in love with cooking.”
On top of honouring family tradition, Huerta adds twists of his own, often drawing from Australia’s pool of native ingredients. In his nopales (cactus) salad, there’s lemon myrtle, while the kingfish ceviche tostada comes with avocado, karkalla (sea banana) and finger lime.
The wine list has been expanded to 50, of which around 12 are available by the glass. They range from classics to minimal interference and experimental drops. Australia gets the biggest representation and there’s a few from Mexico, too, including the 2016 Casa Magoni Manaz (a mix of vigonier and fiano) and the 2015 Hemisferio Tinto (petit syrah and merlot) – both from Valle de Guadalupe. On the cocktails list, look out for four types of margaritas, as well as some new concoctions, like the Rosemary Nectarine (scotch, rosemary and nectarine shrub) and the Chica de Blanco (gin, lemon, cinnamon and fig).
CHEF’S PICK: FIVE THINGS TO ORDER
So what should you order? The guys have spent months this menu, so we thought they’d be the best person to ask. Here are five picks from the Chica Bonita CBD menu.