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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Guzman y Gomez, Newtown

At last. Decent Mexican food in Sydney.

Guzman y Gomez logo

Guzman y Gomez is named after the inspiring Mexican friends of co-founders Rafael Nazario and Steven Marks, who themselves met by chance encounter in Australia. They spotted the dearth of genuine Mexican food in our takeaway landscape (the type without the greasy mince, exessive corn chips and congealed plastic cheese gratings) and set about rectifying the situation immediately. Thank goodness they did.

Guzman y Gomez counter

It's a clever all-encompassing package they have here. First there's the funky logo and the hip-sounding name. On the street, the eye-catching canary yellow signage is particularly effective on Newtown's congested King Street. And inside there's an efficient looking service counter with menu board.

Reassuringly, there's also an army of staff in the kitchen, armed with spatulas and tongs, who are cooking on the grill and ladling up beans to order.

Three tacos and rice $10.90

I order three tacos and rice, and after a brief wait my receipt number is called and I collect my tray. The tacos are prepared in a traditional style, using soft tortillas--no need for precocious children offering advice on taco shells here.

There are eleven different taco fillings (including steak and onions, fish baja style, fish zacatecas and two vegetarian options: peppers and onions, and tofu zacatecas) but I end up with chicken, pork and prawns.

Chicken guerrero taco
Grilled skinless chicken breast combined with Guajilli chilli,
garlic and freshly ground cumin

Pork adobado taco
Grilled lean pork marinated with Ancho chillies, garlic and tomato

Prawns in yellow mole taco
Grilled prawns marinated in GyG's yellow mole:
chilli, garlic, tumeric and spices

They're all very good. Each taco comes with a salsa of your choosing, and although I choose the hottest (tomatillo salsa), I relent for the mild roasted tomato salsa with the prawns, at my server's friendly advice.

There's a generous serve of meat in all of them, and the Monterrey black beans are a surprising highlight, smooth glossy beans that are sweet and almost creamy, after a long simmer in a mixture of sofrito, herbs and spices.

habanero chilli sauce
Habanero chilli sauce
Of course one can never have enough chilli, and in addition to the complimentary jalapenos I help myself to from the counter, I can neither resist the authentic Mexican habanero sauce--helpfully lablelled as xxxtra hot sauce for those doubting it's potency (it's very good).

chilli sauce addition

The foil packaging is a little tricky to handle, but sauce dribbles and occasional spillage is part of the fun, and soon eased with a quick wipe of a serviette.

Rice with sofrito
The container of rice also has a slight kick to it with its addition of sofrito, made from roasted green peppers, garlic, onions and coriander.

Burritos ($9.90) and quesadillas (two for $7.30) are also available, and the GYG Famous Chilli (beef and pork cooked with tomatoes and spices, $8.00) must've been so good it was sold out when I visited. And for those who must have corn chips, they have guacamole and chips, or chips with salsa, using Mexican totopos tortilla chips.

Guzman y Gomez

Guzman y Gomez
175 King Street, Newtown, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9517 1533

Opening hours:

Monday to Saturday 11am-11pm
Sunday 11am-10pm
15 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Anonymous on 11/12/2006 11:49:00 pm


  • At 11/13/2006 7:20 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oh yum! Those tacos look absolutely delish! I'd love to have one of these places in Melbourne (anything that offers better fare than Taco Bills...)

  • At 11/13/2006 8:38 am, Blogger PiCkLeS said…

    oh i know where this is! Must check it out. I need to get back to more food blogging.

  • At 11/13/2006 12:46 pm, Blogger Bex said…

    Yesterday I drove past this place and wondered if was any good or not! It's not the first time that you've read my stomach (mind)! haha! Now I'm definately going to have to try it out! Thanks!

  • At 11/13/2006 2:43 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I was there on Sunday! Did you go to the Newtown festival while you were there?

  • At 11/13/2006 2:52 pm, Blogger SydneyGal said…

    Interesting. How did you find the service? We were there Saturday night and found the service pretty scatty (cashier disappeared for 5 minutes with a queue waiting to empty the garbage bin ...). Thought maybe they needed a little time to nail it down.

    My USA-bred boyfriend who's been looking for good Mexican in Sydney for 34 years was disappointed - not hot enough he said, but we had takeaway and didn't stop for extra sauce ...

    P.S. great blog - I'm really enjoying it and we're going to visit the Uigher place soon.

    P.S.S. - a recommendation - Kafenes at Enmore. Went there for the first time Friday night and it was a knockout. Brilliant Greek food, great service, a little noisy but hey it's Greek.

  • At 11/13/2006 4:23 pm, Blogger Julia said…

    Thanks for this, I've been very keen to try it out but King St turns me off with it's horrible traffic and non-existant parking. But with courage I will get there quicksmart!

  • At 11/13/2006 8:58 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    oohhh I must waddle there sometime soon and try the prawn one since it looks the best i rkn! King St has lots of good food especially Bugerlicious XD

  • At 11/14/2006 3:50 pm, Blogger Tubby said…

    I'm so glad you added this because I've been meaning to search for an authentic Mexican restuarant for so long! The food looks great! And I'm glad Sydney has taken action about our lack of Mexican restuarants.

  • At 11/15/2006 5:51 pm, Blogger Georgia said…

    I love mexican food, I'll have to get out to newtown and try it!
    Have you eaten at Vera Cruz in Cremorne yet? It's fantastic, interesting and well presented mexican food - the restaurant is very white and clinical - very anti- tex mex. They do a very good mid week 2 course meal for $25 and very good cocktails

  • At 6/18/2007 11:15 pm, Blogger Emily said…

    I love this place.
    I'm a Sydney Uni student, and Access card holder, so I get a discount.
    Been there numerous times and never had a problem with the service or the food.

  • At 9/25/2007 9:02 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It's embarassing to say but I eat there 2 to 3 times a week. The only fault of the place is they dont have a freshly made hot salsa, apart from that I think it's great!

  • At 12/02/2008 3:29 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    and the flan/creme caramel is delicious!try the flan if you have a sweet tooth!

  • At 12/03/2008 12:10 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Jessabelle - Ooh a discount card would be great. But that would mean going back to uni. Argh! lol

    Hi Anon - Hope you're still enjoying it!

    Hi Anon - Haven't been back there since, but with the new outlets popping up all over town I might have to pay another visit.

  • At 5/30/2009 9:49 pm, Anonymous James X said…

    I've been craving real latin food after living in the US for a few years, and this is the first place in Australia which even comes close to what I remember about burritos.

    The chicken one I had today was quite ok, although a little too soggy.

  • At 6/02/2009 2:25 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi James - I can only imagine your cravings. It's a shame there's such an abundance of Tex Mex here, but agreed, it's good that Guzman goes some way toward rectifying the situation!


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