The house where Frida Kahlo lived in Mexico City was not only full of art, it was also bursting with music, artists, thinkers and writers. The street name? Londres. That’s also the name of the latest venue from Milpa Collective, the group behind Santa Catarina, La Palma, Calita, Carbon, Taqiza, Sonora, and Casa Merida.
“We want to replicate what was happening in Mexico City in the ’40s – the nightlife and the parties,” co-owner Liber Osorio tells Broadsheet. “Kahlo’s house was full of important and interesting people, not just from Mexico but from all over the world.”
Londres 126 is tucked in the Quay Quarters precinct, rubbing shoulders with nearby boozer Apollonia and French eatery Bouillon l’Entrecote. The interiors, by Guru Projects (Maydanoz, Sunset Diner Lane Cove, Arthur), are moody, opulent and bohemian: think dark-wood panelling, soft banquettes, fringed lamps, tiled floors and salon-style walls. It does feel a bit like you’ve stepped back in time to the ’40s – especially after the mezcal has been poured and the jazz starts up.
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The restaurant has just introduced live jazz every Thursday night and drag shows are slated for the near future. There’s heated conversation in the plush banquettes and even more heated dancing when the hour gets late. It’s a bar, yes, but bring your appetite. Milpa Collective is, after all, known for taking Australia’s Mexican food landscape far beyond Tex Mex. This is not the group’s first charreria.
“In Mexico City you don’t see only traditional Mexican food, you see food from all over the world,” Osorio says. “We have taken dishes from other countries and made them in a Mexican way. It’s all about finding the balance between tradition and energy.”
To start, a seasonal crudite with whole vegetables, corn chips, a zingy guac and salsa roja, or a plate of Sydney rock oysters with a hibiscus mignonette.
Mussel tostadas come with a house-made duck chorizo, and flautas (a crispy taco popular in Mexico City) are filled with potato and queso fresco (cheese). There is a selection of pinchos (skewers), including swordfish and ox tongue with salsa verde. On the heftier side there’s lamb albondigas, (meatballs in a rich, velvety sauce) and Yamba prawns with guajillo chilli.
Drinks? Margaritas, naturally. But further down the list are other cocktails, each named after one of Kahlo’s paintings. Order one then look up the painting on your phone. You’ll see a correlation in the colours or design. Mezcal is at the heart of all the Milpa venues and at Londres 126 the focus is on artisanal, premium bottles, with many that can’t be found anywhere else in the country. There’s even a locker where you can keep your bottle stashed for future visits.
So, is it a bar or is it a restaurant? As is often the case these days, the answer is both.
“You can come here for dinner and open a beautiful bottle of wine,” Osorio says. “But then you can stay and party and have Margaritas until 2am.”
Londres 126
8 Loftus Street, Sydney
Hours:
Tue & Wed 4pm–11pm
Thu to Sat midday-late
londres126.com.au
@londres126.cantina
23 Sep 2022
20 Sep 2022
20 Sep 2022
20 Sep 2022

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