Vegetables have never tasted this good!
Ok! I’ve finally reached episode 62 of the Mitchen podcast- dated 16 May 2017! Now see, this is the problem with listening to the back-issue of foodie podcasts- as many restaurants have since closed down in the intervening years. And one of the restaurants I’ve been fruitlessly hunting down to date has been ‘Ghost Boy Cantina’, and finally today we’ve caught up with one of their derivatives which is still in business! Bad Hombres!
Located on Reservoir Street in Surry Hills, we didn’t care that their restaurant only served a vegan menu (although we’ve never knowingly elected to dine at a purely vegan restaurant before), as I personally was just so eager to try Sean McManus and Toby Wilson’s Mexican Asian fusion restaurant, we didn’t care that we weren’t going to have any meat tonight!
Although we didn’t have a reservation, the staff were so kind to make room for us on this Saturday evening. Not wanting to impede on their later evening trade, we quickly made our selections ordering the Tortilla chips and salsas as a starter ($10.00), King mushroom Peruvian ceviche as our second small dish to share ($16.00), and The Cauliflower as our one large share plate ($26.00).
After we had our orders all squared away, we leaned back and took in the ambiance of the restaurant- it had a cool Surry Hills vibe to it, my wife compared it to the ambiance of Ze Pickle, you know that dark youthful vibe? Although it wasn’t even 6pm yet, the restaurant was still 75% at capacity and tonight’s music playlist (70s – 80s Aussie rock) reminded me of my high school days- when one of our mates was old enough to drive, and used to pick us all up and we’d spend the day at the beach enjoying a good-old summer’s day in Sydney. *Sigh*.
Within minutes after placing our orders our Tortilla chips arrived. The chips were served in a large and deep bowl, while the 3 dips were served in a porcelain dipping line-up.
The Tortilla chips were unsalted, and the flavour came from the trio of dips. My wife’s favourite was the Salsa Verde (top), my personal favourite was the roast jalapeno guacamole (centre) due to its thick creamy avo, while the pico de gallo (bottom) was very good as well, nice and chunky and substantial! The serving of chips were so large that right to the very end, we were still munching on them.
The next to arrive was the King mushroom Peruvian ceviche. This was when we were reminded that we were at a vegan restaurant after all. But as Sean McManus mentioned on the Mitchen pod, just because a dish lacks meat, it doesn’t mean that it has to lack flavour. And oh boy, the Peruvian ceviche packed a flavour punch! I can’t remember the last time the flavour of food alone tasted this intense! The dish contained “leche de tigre”, with sweet potato, coriander, onion, corn and red chilli. Every element played their part to lend its flavours to the dish. Yeah, the ceviche was pretty sour with a healthy amount of lime juice, but I think it only primed the tastebuds for the sweetness of the sweet potato, the earthy flavours of the mushrooms, and the love-it or hate-it flavours of the cilantro. Personally, from the 3 dishes we had tonight, this was my favourite; while my wife found it a little bit too sour for her liking.
And the final dish to arrive, was the Cauliflower. The elements arrive deconstructed, so getting in with fingers you were able to construct your own tortillas, making them as jumbo or as lean as you wanted them to be.
Before constructing our first, we chose to try the cauliflower on its own, as we were so curious to see what it tasted like as it didn’t look like what you’d usually expect a cauliflower to be (it was pretty brown). But it was really tasty, the seasoning reminded me of this Chinese grilled fish dish my mum used to make, and again we were amazed in how flavoursome they were able to make veg to be! When we did construct our own tortillas we made sure each contained all of the elements i.e. cauliflower with seaweed salt, cashew cream, salsa verde, coriander and onion- all wrapped up in the corn tortillas. And a special call-out of the texture of the corn tortillas, it had this tougher/chewy texture I hadn’t come across in tortillas or wraps before, and from a textural point of view this pleased my teeth. Haaha.
And as hard as we were trying to be in-and-out (so whoever had originally reserved the table we were hanging off weren’t impeded by our presence), there was honestly so much food that it still took us over an hour to finish our meal. And who knew you can feel this full and satisfied from vegetables alone?
Our end verdict, 4.0 Stars from 5! (2.5 from 3 for Food (everything was so tasty, and in the end to ensure that all elements did not contain any trace of meat, poultry or dairy, Sean and Toby had to think outside of the square- so big ups that they were able to make the food so tasty while we never felt like we were lacking in anything); 0.5 from 0.5 for Service (the staff were very kind to accommodate us as walk-ups, and our waitress was really cheery although it was a pretty busy night for them); 0.5 from 0.5 for Atmosphere (a cool relaxed Surry Hills vibe was the feeling I left with); and 0.5 from 1 for Value for Money (we could have easily given it the full 1 for Value, but knowing how much the per kilo price is for mushrooms and cauliflower, it’s hard to disconnect your mind from thinking how many heads of cauliflower you can buy for $26)).
In the end, Bad Hombres was a real nice change-up for us, where we’ve been so used to eating Asian food down in South CBD/Chinatown. I’m so glad that we got out of our comfort zone and tried something new for a change, and super glad that I finally managed to try one of Toby Wilson’s creations! I’ll def be spreading the word to my vego friends… that matter….. To anyone who cares about food that there is this awesome Mexican Asian fusion place in Surry Hills serving up tasty vegan dishes! Veg has never tasted this good!
Bad Hombres- Saturday 2 November (4.0 Stars).
PH: 0410 191 441
40 Reservoir Street, Surry Hills
Tues-Sat 5pm – 10pm