Tomatillo opened on the strip in Kings Cross about three years ago and was the first of a new wave of Mexican restaurants in Sydney. Where once Mexican food in this city consisted of sloppy, cheese-covered burritos and corn chips with mince-meat and tomato sauce, Tomatillo offered marinated, slow-braised, shredded beef fillings, spicy home-cooked sauces and salsa with fresh tomatoes and coriander.
And Quesadillas. I don't think I had ever eaten a Quesadilla in my life until Tomatillo opened.
The main menu consists of Burritos, Tacos, Nachos, Quesadillas and Salads, but there are also other dishes such as Chipotle Glazed BBQ Ribs, Fajitas and Chili Con Carne.
I usually order a Quesadilla or Burrito, with that lovely Barbacoa (shredded spiced braised beef). The Quesadilla is a large flour tortilla filled with the meat, cheese, grilled capsicum, onion, sour cream and salsa, and made up into a kind of big semi-circle sandwich. The Burrito is also a large flour tortilla stuffed with the meat, rice, beans, cheese, sour cream, lettuce and salsa, all rolled up like a doner-kebab. The tortillas are made from scratch on the premises so they don't have that weird smell that packaged, supermarket tortillas have.
The chap behind the counter picks out the ingredients from the display:
And then puts the flat Quesadilla and foil-covered roll of Burrito inside this press for a few minutes:
And then voila!
I find Tomatillo is quite a good place to eat when I'm in a hurry (or just starving) because orders are placed at the counter, meaning you don't have to wait around for service. The food doesn't take long to arrive either. It's also a good place to eat alone, because if you sit up at the bar table (pictured below) you can be entertained by all the action in the food-prep area behind the counter.
Not long after Tomatillo opened I remember speaking to the owner, Bill Komoroski, who is from the United States. Komoroski was telling me that when they took over the space on Darlinghurst Road and ripped out the previous shop's interior, they discovered the walls were made from convict sandstone.
This little door, which is only about 1.5m high, leads to the Tomatillo office.
Tomatillo Mexican Grill
40B Darlinghurst Road
Kings Cross NSW 2011
02 9326 0900