Carbòn Mexican Woodfire… Making Mexican Food FancyThe orange neon sign above the entrance promises a good time, and Carbòn Mexican Woodfire does not disappoint. ‘Carbòn’, the word written in lights, translates to ‘charcoal’ in Spanish and serves as an apt name for a Mexican restaurant that focuses on wood-fired dishes made using traditional South American ‘parrilla’ (grilling) techniques.
Chefs and owners Pablo Galindo Vargas and Liber Osorio are the same team behind Taqiza, the trendy taqueria on Glenayr Avenue. Both men were born and raised in Mexico and their second Bondi venture brings the beaches of Tulum to Bondi Road.
Inspired by the haciendas of the Mexican Caribbean, inside you’ll find cacti, candles, dark timber furniture and a cow’s skull pimped out in neon lights mounted on one of the white rendered walls. There is definitely a touch of Bondi about the place as well. The ostentatious skull, white backdrop-friendly walls, semi-lit bar and large mirror resting in one corner all make for a very Instagram worthy interior.
As is the case at most Mexican joints, the Carbòn menu is designed to share. Parrilla techniques are used to cook everything and each dish is enriched by the smoky flavours emanating from the open char- coal fire below.
While you can order tacos from a set taco menu, mains from the woodfire menu are all served with house-made corn tortillas and diners are encouraged to invent their own taco flavour combinations. Choose from options such as the confit pork with Seville oranges, roasted lamb shoulder with mole, char-grilled octopus with zarandeado sauce or a 200-days grain-fed Angus rib eye, match these with sides like the fresco cheese esquites or the confit potatoes with duck lard and chorizo, then add some heat with a home-made salsa.
Carbòn took over the old Rum Diaries space at the eastern end of the Bondi Road shops, and there is still drinking to be done in the cosy terrace – although now, unsurprisingly, agave spirits reign supreme.
I opted for a jalapeno margarita, made from 100 per cent agave blanco tequila. The spicy kick and hint of lime juice paired wonderfully with the citrus juices our kingfish ceviche starter rested in. One particular cocktail that stood out on Carbòn’s extensive drinks menu was the mezcal mint smash, made with blanco tequila, lime, mint, capsicum syrup and tonic.
Even on school nights the team at Carbòn stay open relatively late (12am Tuesday to Saturday and 10pm Sunday). There is also live music every Friday night from 6.00-8.00pm with $5 Tecate beers and $12 margaritas, and each weekend they offer a generous bottomless brunch deal: $75 for all the tacos and margaritas you can consume in one leisurely sitting (12pm to 5pm).
Carbòn offers a fun yet chilled-out environment in which to enjoy some of the best Mexican cuisine Sydney has to offer, with a bar stocked full of quality tequila and mezcal to help wash it all down.
Carbòn Mexican Woodfire
Address 288 Bondi Rd, Bondi
Phone 9365 6092
Open Tue-Fri 5pm-12am, Sat 12pm-12am, Sun 12pm- 10pm
Prices $8 for single tacos, mains from $28
Cards Master, Visa, Amex