El Capo

Restaurants, Sydney / 20 July 2011

Good Food For Bad People

I once stole three garden gnomes from the front yard of someone’s house and gave them to my friend for his birthday. Some would say this classifies me as a bad person. With the introduction of El Capo, the new Latin street food restaurant in Surry Hills I’m sure I won’t be the only one confessing their naughty sins.

corn bread with house-made butter

It feels like you’ve stepped into a drug lord’s den with the lights on, only much cleaner. Inside you’ll find wads of cash stacked in hundred-dollar bills on the table, petrol cans and splashes of graffiti on the walls. Their tag line “good food for bad people” makes you question just how bad you have to be to get a table. On a Friday or Saturday night, serving time south of the boarder would only get you on the waiting list for one of six communal dining spaces.
Food Lord Omar Andrade is no stranger to unique dining, formerly popping up around Sydney hosting guerilla-dining events under the name Transient Diner. He’s now teamed up with young chef Joey Astorga to bring affordable, good food to the hood.
crispy school prawns with jamon and aioli

The menu is designed to be shared, so grab a few friends and go nuts, it’s all very reasonably priced. The corn bread with house made butter sounds interesting but was too doughy and bland for me, get stuck in with the entrees and mains.
The salads (all $10) are fantastic especially the Son Of El Capo with cabbage, raisins and hazelnuts and the El Mas Cholo; potato with apple and Ailo (not your usual potato salad that’s for sure)! The El Chapo Guzman with corn, quinoa and pickled carrots looks more like art than a salad it’s just as fun to eat.

Order the ceviche ($15) it’s fresh, looks great and tastes even better. The El Papa fish with cactus, lime and coconut looks anemic, like it’s just spotted a debt-collecting dealer. Where it lacks interest on the plate in compensates in the mouth. The Puerco Do Boccones pork cheeks, smoked passion fruit and congo potatoes is beautifully presented with perfectly crisp pork in foam and bright purple potatoes.
Son Of El Capo- cabbage, raisins and hazelnuts

You’ll find a solid wine list with several local drops and imports from Chile, Mendoza and Argentina. Order tequila to start your night and finish it with a rum or cocktail. Just don’t make the mistake of not leaving room for dessert, the Almond Milk Flan with Rum Syrup and the Three Mild Cake with Cherries, Pomegranate, Caramel and Malt (both $10) are both on my hit list.
El Mas Cholo- potato with apple and Ailo

El Chapo Guzman- corn, quinoa and pickled carrots

El Papa fish with cactus, lime and coconut

Puerco Do Boccones pork cheeks, smoked passion fruit and congo potatoes

El Capo

52 Waterloo Street, Surry Hills.
P: 9699 2518
W: elcapo.com.au
When: Mon-Wed, noon-10pm Thurs-Sat, noon-midnight