In Adelaide it seems a new eatery pops up every few months promising great tacos. Well now you can add a new venue to Adelaide’s collection of Mexican joints, but this time, it’s different. It’s an authentic revolution.
Revolución Mexciana is a casual new restaurant based in a reformed butcher’s shop in a humble section of the Central Market Arcade, and it’s an actual taqueria with real Mexican roots.
The idea spawned years ago between Fernando Gutierrez, his flatmate Ariande Nieto and her partner John Varcoe. It came from the simple desire to showcase real Mexican food to Adelaide diners, and fulfil a local appetite that has for so long been filled by Tex-Mex and hipster fusion variations in the city.
“The lack of real Mexican food here was a big thing,” says Nieto, “Most places, they serve sort of Tex-Mex.”
“Maybe they give you a duck mole taco, you know, and that sounds good,” adds Fernando Gutierrez, summoning a fictional but believable hipster-style taco to prove the point. “I would love to try it, but probably the majority of people don’t have a clear idea of what a mole is, or all its varieties. The whole idea was to keep it as authentic as possible.”
Mole, for the uninitiated is a typical Mexican sauce of chilli, onion and cocoa.
“We’ve had this conversation before that it’s great that some people are doing fusion food, and that’s the way that fancy food is going in fancy restaurants in Mexico,” says Varcoe. “But Australia is such a young and uneducated market about what Mexican food really is that when you’re doing this fusion, you don’t actually realise what the base is.”
The menu is stacked with typical Mexican dishes, including carnita, pastor and fish tacos, mole enchiladas, flautas, elotes and even huevos rancheros for breakfast. The crew are happy to source almost all of their produce from the vendors in the Central Market Arcade and Adelaide Central Market.
“When we created the menu we just asked ourselves, ‘what’s your favourite food?’,” says Gutierrez. “What do you miss the most?”
Midway through our conversation at Revolución Mexicana, a woman walks into the shop to return a glass, thanking the proprietors for “such a delicious drink”. After joking that next time it will have vodka in it, Gutierrez explains that their restaurant serves a variety of these fresh, and apparently delicious, agua frescas.
“Imagine a lemonade but using all the fresh fruit you can find, making a syrup or blending it up,” says Gutierrez. “It’s not as heavy as juice since it has some water in it, and has a nice flavour with some herbs and things.”
It’s not just the dishes and drink that make Revolución Mexicana such an authentic spot, though.
“The thing that makes us the most authentic Mexican restaurant outside of Mexico is that we’ve been robbed by Mexican bandits,” jokes Varcoe. He’s referring to the fact that the trio had a shipment of Mexican hand-stitched equipal furniture on order for the restaurant, but it was stolen in transit.
“To make things short, the container was at customs, and was secure, so to speak,” adds Gutierrez. “Some armed men just rocked up and at gun point stole the container. Why? Why ours? They must have gotten confused thinking it was something expensive like laptops or something.”
Unfazed, the crew has simply set up trestle tables and plastic chairs for diners while they wait for a new shipment of the furniture to arrive, and will soon have a fresh piece of decoration for the walls.
“We’ll definitely be mounting the police report,” says Varcoe. “We’ll try to get the video, but since it happened inside the port which is controlled by the Navy, they’re a bit embarrassed.”
Other aspects of the restaurant’s interior reference the idea of the traditional Mexican taqueria, and tie into its revolutionary vibe. Images of Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa, heroes of the Mexican Revolution, adorn the rough walls, which are painted to pay homage to those cantinas of old.
“During the revolution was when the taco became huge,” says Gutierrez. “There was not a lot of food around and it was easy to carry you know. Even the biggest hero of the revolution, Zapata, the story goes that he only fed his horse tacos.”
Varcoe goes on to explain that the revolution isn’t just in the rear view mirror for the team. They want to stage their own Mexican revolution here in Adelaide.
“It’s also about revolutionising what Mexican food is for a lot of people here,” he says. “It’s an ironic revolution though, where we take it back to what it actually is, rather than what you think it is.”
Central Market Arcade