11 December 2010

El Cuervo Cantina ~ Mexican \ South American - Enmore [CLOSED]

El Cuervo Cantina on Enmore Road does Mexican & South American food like nowhere else we have been in Sydney. We highly recommend you get your gringo arse in here and give it a try.

El Cuervo Cantina opened up a couple of weeks ago on Enmore Road. There's just something about the place that gave us a good feeling. Firstly it says "Mexican Food by Mexican People" on the front window. A clue that this isn't your standard old "Montezumas" joint that serves mince and beans for $25 a plate. No sir, no mam. Plus the opening hours are intriguing: it's closed for most of the week but weekends are party time, open till 3am on Friday and Saturday.

We get a chance to pop in on a Friday night. It's only been open a couple of weeks yet it is close to full, a good sign. Most of the trade seems to be Newtown\Enmore locals, but as the night goes on we notice more and more South American looking folks dropping in.

The staff are warm and welcoming. Complimentary corn chips and fresh salsa appear as soon as we sit down.

El Cuervo Cantina's menu gives us a street foodie woodie. We are yet to travel Mexico and South America so we can't compare the food, but this menu is far from your standard Aussie boring Mexican restaurant food. And the menu is brief, which often equates to good food. The boss lady explains that mains\specials change every week and are written on the window outside. We choose a main from the window and a bunch of entrees.

Fully imported beers, very reasonable at $5 and $6. VB is cheaper than the pub at $4.

The first appetizer was our favourite: Beef Empanada -  $4. This tasted mum-made, absolutely delicious.

Sopes - grilled pastry with chorizo, lettuce, thickened cream and fetta cheese. $5.

Tostada - crispy tortilla topped with chicken tinga, lettuce, thickened cream and feta. $5.

Quesadillas -deep fried maize pastry served with lettuce and fetta cheese. $3.5 each.

Lamb Barbacoa - lamb slow cooked until it's falling apart. Served with not enough of those gorgeous soft tortillas. It tasted like roast lamb, plain on it's own but delicious when wrapped up with fixins...

A plate of fixins...

The boss lady explained that a whole bunch of musicians were coming in around 11.30pm to jam till closing. We get the feeling we left before the party started. I think if they had stools at the bar we would have loitered around a bit longer, sampling some tequila and Havana rums as the bands play. Next time.

El Ceurvo Cantina drinks menu.

El Cuervo Cantina is at 200 Enmore Road, a couple of doors South of Faheem's, across the road from the Sly Fox Hotel. See www.elcuervocantina.com or friendface for more info.

They are closed most weeknights but open till 3am on Friday and Saturday nights. You may want to check their website or friendface page for opening hours as they will probably change as they work things out.

El Cuervo on Urbanspoon


  1. OMG OMG OMG!!!! I must go here ASAP! I'm licking the screen looking at the yummy food. Why oh why do I live so far away from Enmore...land of the yummy food.

  2. It's open till 3am - you can go now!

  3. We went here last Saturday and it was fantastic! good food! great vibes!
    The band was the best part of the night- they seemed to be enjoying themselves as much as the crowd. Is a must to hang around for if you eat there.
    I definitely will return soon.

  4. Same same - we plan on heading up regularly for late night drinks and snackages - what a great joint!

  5. I cant wait to go!!!! Finaly MEXICAN FOOD MADE BY MEXICANS!!!! THATS WHAT Sidney needs!!! VIVA MEXICO CA!!
    I personally know that Enchiladas verdes are the best made by Rosa Mel chacho(she works there)

  6. You're right - there's such a huge gap in the market for real Mexican food, hope these guys do swell :-)

  7. Guzman y Gomez have proved there's life beyond sour cream and cheese on cornchips as 'mexican' - we hope this continues to bend peoples perceptions on what this syle of food can be. I noticed some new signage going up yesterday - what can they be up to?

  8. What wonderful looking food! I want one of those empanadas right now!

  9. we booked a table here for tonight (Thursday night) thinking it would be cranking like everywhere else in the lead up to Christmas. We arrived a a very sad looking place that I thought must have been shut but no, the door was open. It was completely empty and the lights were all off but it was open. We were ushered to a seat and left to ourselves for a moment while we wondered what was going on. The waiter then came back and told us there was only 3 things on the menu available. After that we just hopped up and left. A real shame, we will try again another time. Maybe a late Saturday night booking instead!

  10. What a bummer - perhaps weekends are the go?

  11. A group of us went in tonight for dinner, ordered our meals and began to wait..
    The fist course came out, everything was going well then the waiting started again..
    After almost an hour i asked where our mains were only to be told they forgot.
    We got up and left.
    A real let down after such a build up. :(

  12. It was pretty disorganised when we went but we didn't feel it was fair to mention it when they had only just opened, we didn't mind, we thought it was part of the genuine cantina experience :-)

  13. Just because the food is made by people of Mexican extraction does not mean it is any good. My friends and I fell in to this trap...

    It would appear that the Mexicans making the food have an allergy to salt and flavour, as the Quesadillas we had were like little deep fried parcels of air. Disappointing.

    We ordered 4 mains. Only 3 ever arrived. Cool.

    I had the marinated steak. And by "steak", they really mean "an old Doc Martin" and by "marinated" they mean "cremated". It was actually quite impressive how the Mexican chef managed to turn a piece of steak into a piece of jerky by grilling only. My commendations!

    We left with the feeling that a couple of accountants and service station workers decided to flee Mexico for whatever reason, come to Australia and dupe a few foodies into thinking they were qualified chefs. I think people might cotton on. No Mariachi band in the world could bring that steak back to life....

    Oh, and BYO salt...

  14. Went here and had a pretty good time.

    Authentic mexican food is as I understand it very simple, and that's probably the best word to describe the food here. There's not massive variety in terms of mains (only 3) and the steak was little more than a piece of minute steak cooked through on a plate served with some salsa and guac.

    The empanada's were pretty good as was the Queso Fundido.

    The live music was a lovely touch and the place wasn't too pricey. I wouldn't go back but it was worth doing once.

  15. I went there last weekend to enjoy cuban music with "Armandito y trovason" and the surprise was to find a mexican musician playing there too.. that was a plus! The food came after a long wait but that definitely worth it! The fajitas were absolutely tasty! we had heaps of delicious food during the event as different kind of soft tacos, fajitas, nachos, crispy tacos, mexican rice, guacamole and a chilli - tomato dip. The spicy sauce was the best and all for less than 40 dls! Margaritas are so salty .. but the mojito was pretty nice.. !!
    I highly recommend the place specially when they have shows.. but make sure you book your table... last weekend were many people standing in front of the bar!!

  16. hey guy's , hard to find good food , never mind good mexican food...but i tell ya's i give a 10+ for all round food and service with a great price.....and i am a fussy bugger...injoy :)

  17. We just walked past tonight and there was a full house with a band playing - great to see it's working out :-)

  18. So happy to find a real mexican restaurant by mexicans!!! No tortillas old el paso or tex-mex food lol just real and fresh mexican dishes!! I think is the first place in sydney or mayb around australia with real mexican menu and staff ...

  19. This place is great! I am Mexican and I can tell the environment is just as a place in Mexico, with real food and the best thing is the music. Definitively a place to go at late night, for drinks, a cozy dinner and enjoy a really good expierence. Haven't found any other really mexican place in Sydney, and i have tried hard to find it. Finally found it =)

  20. I was here last night and had a delicious dinner.... My partner is Mexican and has made Chilaquiles for me but I have never seen such a traditional dish in an Australian restaurant. It was delicious!!

    The two-piece band was playing and the atmosphere was so relaxing and fun - with super friendly service and delicious food - highly recommended!


Thanks for your comment joy - please keep your musings happy - if you want to complain about a restaurant please do it on a restaurant review site (or your own blog) - we're all about celebrating cultural diversity and the great eats that come along with it :-)

Our ethics: We pay for all our own meals and travel (though sometimes Mum shouts us).