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Barrio Chino

Address: 28-30 Bayswater Rd Kings Cross NSW 2011
Phone: 02 8021 9750

Tags: mexican, licensed, latin american, gluten-free, outdoor dining, tequila

Tucked away on Bayswater Road in Kings Cross is Barrio Chino – the latest Mexican hotspot for Sydney-siders to gush and woo over. Owners Peter Lew and Nicole Galloway hope to bring inner city diners authentic Mexican cuisine. Their culinary focus is about bringing Mexican street food in a dining table style.

It's basically snacky bits and pieces to go with your drinks. There's ceviche, of course, of diced snapper, squid, cucumber and avocado, a refreshingly bright and clear-flavoured starter; big and bouncy albondigas for the meatball-lovers, which are lightened with rice and served in a rich tomato and chipotle sauce, topped with a snow storm of grated house-made cow's-milk queso.

f there's a signature dish, then it's the tuna tostada, a fusiony little titbit, one of the big sellers in the US.

It's good to see a bar embrace tequila with such abandon, from the pure blanco to the lightly aged reposado, the more mature anejo and extra anejo. There's also a short but worthwhile list of mainly South American and Spanish wines, including an easy, earthy 2007 Solar Viejo Tempranillo from Rioja.

Barrio Chino’s fit out is stylish and low-key, with a long bar that stretches between the restaurant and front lounge area. Bar seating, big dining tables and an outdoor back area makes it an ideal precursor to a night out with friends. Although, given the bar stays open till the wee hours with DJ’s spinning Friday through to Sunday, you can pretty much have your night handed to you without having to step foot into the Cross.

Nor is it the most original kid on the block but Barrio Chino has neatly nailed both the current food trend and the need for a more food-oriented bar in Kings Cross's most popular drinking strip. Its new-style version of Mexican food is lighter, brighter and fresher-tasting, built on decent ingredients and designed to go extremely well with a drink or two. And best of all, you don't actually need to be drunk to eat it.

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from 98 AUD per night