Tacos and tequila. SoCal in Neutral Bay provides a Mexican fiesta for all.
So… I am originally from that side of the bridge. You know, the side that is traditionally inhabited by retirees, nuclear families and young adults congregating at train stations to get to the other side? Ok, so that may be both a little judgmental and in jest, as many of my nearest and dearest are north-side locals. However, it’s only in the last few years that this area has come into its own as a stand out dining destination. And nowhere has this occurred more so than in Neutral Bay.
So… The precinct around Grosvenor and Young Streets is not to be missed on a Neutral Bay night out. SoCal is the newest addition to this hot spot and is a must-do to either begin (think laid back, southern Californian sandy vibe) or end (think 2am licence and tequila-slant) your evening. The guys from Applejack Hospitality (of Bondi Hardware and The Botanist, Kirribilli fame) have nailed the drinks, dude food, décor and dance floor at this indoor/outdoor and all round good times venue.
So… not all the food requires a “dude” prefix. The Hawaiian Tuna Poke, with coconut milk, coriander, jalapenos and shallots is a very refreshing ceviche-style dish that is served with tortilla crisps. It is easy to eat and when washed down with a Del-Martini (Ketel One vodka with peach liqueur, fresh lime, peach puree, and a dash of peach bitters), there is no better way to start a weeknight meal or a big Saturday night out. On the other hand, the Chilli Dogs, with cheese, mustard and ketchup definitely do fit the dude food bill and also do taste as good as they look.
So… you have great options. Other highly enticing menu items include Pollo Loco Pinchos (spiced chicken skewers with Mexican rice) along with a variety of tacos, share plates and quesadillas, the latter with pulled pork, charred chicken and vegetarian versions on offer. And the options don’t stop with the food. The comprehensive wine list is approachable and stays in-theme with its focus on the Californian region and there is also a selection of American craft beers and tequila-favoured cocktails to choose from. Connoisseurs of this Central American spirit will love Tommy’s Margarita – El Jimador Reposado with fresh lime and Agave nectar (topped off with an American flag).
So… whether you are a local, an old-timer or a newbie to the bloodlines off the ever-pumping Military Road, SoCal is worth a wander, a visit or an adventure. Come with an empty belly and preferably a ride home. Come without your need to leave any time soon. Cos this is California, baby!