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Mexicano Nuovo

Mad Mex in Surry Hills, Sydney, does away with ponchos and the gaudy paraphernalia, opting for a modern take on the Mexican eatery.

Mexicano Nuovo


September 16th, 2008

This article is an excerpt from the current Issue #34 of Indesign Magazine. For the full text grab yourself a copy from good newsagents and book stores.


Think of a Mexican eatery that you have been to. No doubt the experience would have included a dark and texturally chaotic interior, a sombrero and posters of bull fighters decorating the walls, and traditional music originating from the mustachioed, guitar-wielding owner.

In the thick of Sydney’s Surry Hills, one of the busiest hubs for quick and tasty food, is the Mad Mex Fresh Mexican Grill. Not only does the interior reflect a contrast, but the food itself offers a new way of experiencing Mexico.

Owner, Clovis Young, a self-confessed Mexican food obsessive, decided to bring the concept of Baja Mexican to Australia after discovering a gap in the market for gourmet made-to-order Mexican food. Referring to the peninsula of land situated between California and Mexico, Baja blends traditionally bold Mexican flavours with health-conscious cuisine typical of California. This has resulted in a menu created by world-renowned chef Rafael Nazario of Sydney’s Guzman y Gomez, providing low-fat, low-carbohydrate, dairy-free or gluten-free options that still taste undeniably Mexican.

Giant Design’s concept for the interior is also a long way from the traditional, while still retaining a strong Mexican aesthetic. It is light and open as opposed to dark and closed off. The transparent food preparation area is honest and creates a sense of theatre, the chefs visible as they cut and cook the various fillings. A communal table adds to the energy of the space.

The finishes bring the textures of Mexico into a modern environment. Concrete breeze blocks, re-cycled and distressed timber and plaster wall panels evoke a sense of the rustic outdoor lifestyle, translating the aesthetic of the traditional clay home or adobe…


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Photographer – Andrew Worssam 





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