By Vivienne Pearson
‘The vibe is casual enough to bring the boys in for a beer and a couple of cheeky tacos,’ says Chupacabra co-owner and chef Evan White. ‘Families can come in and share a whole fish and it’s also a great spot for a date.’
Chupacabra, tucked in at the back of the Suffolk Park shopping area, is about to head into its second spring of serving good food sourced locally.
‘I don’t bang a gong about it,’ says Evan. ‘But we source almost everything from within a thirty-kilometre range.’ Evan, who garners his experience both from high-end restaurants and the streets of Mexico, makes most of his produce in house. ‘Our tortillas are handmade and no marinades are brought in from elsewhere,’ he says.
A common misperception of Mexican food is that it is intrinsically high on heat. ‘Nothing’s really spicy, either here or in Mexico,’ says Evan who, as you might guess, makes his own sauces. ‘What’s hot is the sauces on the table so the heat is all in your control.’ So you can dial up the heat if you want or leave the food as it comes for flavour without the bite.
Currently, Chupacabra is open for coffee and pastries on weekdays from 7 till 11am and then dinner every day except Sunday. Saturdays are the day to go for lunch at the moment, but look out as the weather warms for more lunch openings.
‘Some people are put off by the idea of eating Mexican food other than in the evening, until they find out that avocados – our favourite brunch food – are from Mexico!’ says Evan.
Check out Chupacabra’s specials nights: Margarita Mondays, Taco Tuesdays (of course), Charcoal Chicken Wednesdays, and the brand-new, smoky-focused Fuego Fridays, featuring smoked meats and smoky mescal margaritas.
The name Chupacabra (pronounced ‘choo-pa-cubra’) comes from a mythical creature; it is also the colloquial name for late-night taco stands in Mexico City and, as Evan explains: ‘It’s kind of code for “I had a good night”.’
Chupacabra, 12A, 3 Clifford Street,
Suffolk Park. 0448 077 401