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FOOD & DRINK

Maiz Mexican Street Food

Fresh-baked bread rolls piled high with chorizo scrambled eggs, locally sourced coffee and Mexican-inspired cocktails await you at this all-day brunch spot.
By Ben Hansen
September 02, 2021
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By Ben Hansen
September 02, 2021
  shares

Rolling down King Street looking for lunch can be a daunting task. The sheer amount of options spanning every price point is enough to stress anyone out. Newtown's newest addition, Maiz, is here to make that choice easier, offering all-day Mexican brunch and local small-batch coffee in a beautiful openair courtyard.

Maiz started as a family-run food stall at the Summer Hill Flour Mill Markets from brother and sister Juan Carlos Negrete and Marissa Negrete, and their respective partners Freija Brandie and Carlos Levet. The team begun by selling sopes, a thick corn torilla topped with fillings. They were Maiz's biggest sellers at the Flour Hill Markets and remain Maiz's best-selling dish at the restaurant nowadays.

The Maiz team made the leap to a brick-and-mortar restaurant in early 2021, finding a historic 1830s building in a prime position among the bustling atmosphere of south King Street. Juan Carlos Negrete told Concrete Playground he originally planned to open in the eastern suburbs, but fell in love with the inner west through the Flour Hill Markets.

"It's a city vibe, full of grounded and hard-working people, full of diversity and incredibly artsy. The buzz you get in this part of Sydney is the closest buzz we get in the streets of Mexico. Opening up a street food concept could only make sense in this environment," Negrete said.

Maiz's menu is inspired by Negrete's time living in the central region of Mexico. The neat selection of lunch options purposefully steers away from tacos and highlights other mainstays of Mexican cuisine instead. Alongside the sopes ($8), you'll find thick corn flatbread tlacoyos ($22) topped with combinations like eggs, shallots, queso salado, two types of salsa and filled with black beans. Negrete says this tlacoyos divorciados is his pick of the menu.

"It's such a beautiful dish that reminds me of the markets of Cholula when I was a student. The Tlacoyo is one of the oldest snacks made by Indigenous cultures in Mexico and the "divorciado" is a twist we decided to do," he said.

Alternatively, tuck into the tortas de longaniza ($20), a Mexican sandwich-esque dish that combines green chorizo scrambled eggs, fermented cabbage and chipotle mustard mayo, or share a pollo al pastor plato plazero ($19) — chilli pineapple jam chicken on a bed of spiced rice, black beans topped with veggies and salsa.

Fresh pastries are on offer from Pancho Bakery and coffee is sourced from small-batch Sydney coffee roaster Madding Crowd Coffee. Cacao is also on hand which is mixed with hot or cold water and comes at your requested strength anywhere between from 35 to 100 percent cacao. Newtown-based China Ceramics, a clay artist who splits their time between Marrickville's Clay Sydney and Maiz, has their handmade mugs and other clay products on display and for sale inside. And, those looking to make your brunch a little boozier, you can complete your brunch with a selection from Maiz's range of mezcal, tequila, Mexican beers and Mexican-inspired cocktails.

During lockdown, the King Street eatery is open for lunch and dinner, Wednesday–Friday, and is offering heat-yourself Maiz at Home dishes, but the Maiz team is looking to reopen with full brunch, lunch and dinner dining post-lockdown.

Maiz by Debbie Gallulo

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