After splashing $2 million on construction, Paddington new arrival Tequila Mockingbird will need to move a mountain of its $9 broccolini mole with cured egg yolk to reward its owners' faith.
The restaurant-bar is certainly in good company, with Justin Hemmes opening a posse of venues up the hill on Oxford Street. Tequila Mockingbird co-owner Michael Fegent explains the meticulous re-tooling of the Five Ways building started from the ground up.
Its Latin American "with a twist" menu is tackled by a polished crew. Gabriel Valenti is out of the kitchen at Maido in Lima (No. 44 on the World's Best List), his co-head-chef Matt Taylor-Watkins has Bentley and Monopole on his CV, and executive chef and co-owner Regan Porteous guides the food at Riley Street Garage.
"We stock 34 tequilas and 10 mezcals. Not sure if it's the most in Sydney, but it'd be up there. We also have about 130 wines in stock, but there's a really noticeable early appetite for cocktails," Fegent says.
The menu certainly covers some turf and price points, from entry-level cerviche taco ($7) to a top-end rib eye with garlic jalapeno butter ($55). The 111-seater, designed by Luchetti Krelle, spreads over multiple levels, and has a retractable rood for the months when Sydney swelters like Mexico City.
"There's a bit of all us in it. I was influenced by my travels and Latin and South America and one of my favourite restaurants in New York City," Fergent says.
Open Wed 4pm-10.30pm; Thurs 4pm-11.30pm; Fri 4pm-midnight; Sat 11.30am-midnight; Sun 11.30am-10pm
6 Heeley Street, Five Ways, Paddington, 02 9331 6749, tequila-mockingbird.com.au