Good Times Abound with the Arrival of Comedor — a Love Letter to Mexican Cuisine in Newtown

This Australia Street newcomer dishes up modern Mexican fare that draws from chef Alejandro Huerta's roots and experience working at some of the world's best restaurants.
Nishika Sharma
Published on July 09, 2024

Mexican cuisine has been flourishing in the spotlight lately, with the likes of MAIZ, El Primo Sanchez and Ricos Tacos cementing their status as Sydney staples and new openings such as Gitano, The Happy Mexican and Cancun Boat Club fuelling further excitement. Joining the ranks of newbies slinging quality south-of-the-border fare is Comedor, Australia Street's new restaurant which celebrates community through food.

Opening its doors on Wednesday, July 10, this neighbourhood diner spotlights modernised Mexican dishes, with Head Chef Alejandro Huerta (ex-El Primo Sanchez, Chica Bonita, No.92) and Venue Manager Kieran Took (ex-Tio's Cerveceria, Big Poppa's) at the helm.

"I want to make sure Comedor is seen as a place where you go to have a great time and experience new flavours, and I'm looking forward to being able to really show who I am and what I'm passionate about," said Huerta.

Upon visiting, you may also notice that Comedor has taken up residence in a 100-year-old warehouse. It's owned by Newtown local Walter Shellshear, who shares a mutual appreciation for the culture and food of Mexico with the duo behind the venue. The vision to create a sense of connection and community through food is one that's been realised by all three, whose collaborative efforts have created an inviting and relaxed dining space for guests to enjoy.

"I love my culture and Mexican food, but I don't like doing the same thing everyone else is doing," said Huerta.

Huerta's ethos shapes the menu, which showcases the modern techniques he picked up working at some of the very best restaurants in the world, Noma in Copenhagen and Pujol in Mexico City, blended with traditional elements that pay homage to his heritage and carry the comfort of a home-cooked meal.

The share-focused set menu includes smaller plates like a kingfish tostada with nduja, pineapple and spring onion and scallops coated in a corn miso vinaigrette and notes of wattleseed and saltbush. For heftier options, you can dig into a mushroom-glazed steak served with enoki and XO sauce, Murray cod in a honey-infused fermented black bean sauce or a pipis-starring linguine finished with chilpachole butter and nasturtium. Rounding out the menu are desserts like a persimmon and manchego tart or chocoflan topped with dulce de leche.

The dinner tasting menu will set you back a quite reasonable $79 — you can also add on an agave or wine pairing for an additional $65 —  but lunch is just as good a deal, with a weekly-rotating three-course chef's choice for $35.

For drinks, expect an agave-forward selection. Took takes charge of the beverage offering, with hopes to encourage guests to explore spirits such as tequila, mezcal, sotol and raicilla.

The cocktail menu stars a fresh and fruity raicilla-spiked strawberry spritz, a Tommy's-style marg with a rose almond and cardamon twist and a mezcal colada with honeycomb, coconut and pineapple for a sweet sip. You'll also be able to pair curated cocktails with each dish if you're feeling adventurous, while non-alc options include house-made sodas in a range of flavours.

As for the fitout, the airy, natural light-filled space encourages casual dining by day while emitting a more sophisticated feel by night. Welsh + Major have led the charge on Comedor's design, drawing on artist Josef Albers' Mexico-inspired works to create an ambient earth-toned venue awash with vibrant reds, buttery yellows and deep blues.

You'll also spot a 16-foot stone bar, as well as timber banquette seating lining the walls and a huge communal dining table, perfect for a slice of community paired with overlapping conversations and stellar cuisine.

Comedor will begin operations on Wednesday, July 10, and will be open from 12pm–5pm on Sunday and Wednesday, and 12pm–10pm Thursday–Saturday, at 182 Australia Street, Newtown.

Published on July 09, 2024 by Nishika Sharma
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