"Corn is the number-one ingredient in Mexico and esquites [a street snack of grilled corn] is served on every other corner, so it seemed like a natural choice to have at the restaurant," says Ward. "I also have a special place for it in my heart - while I was in Oaxaca, I was hungry late one night but I wasn't too sure what to trust. I went and stood behind a bunch of cops in a line, as I figured if they were eating it, it must be good - it ended up being esquites."
Note Epazote and arbol chilli powder are available from Fireworks Foods and Monterey Mexican Foods. At El Público they make their own queso fresco; it's difficult to find in Australia, but unsalty feta or fresh goat's cheese makes a good substitute.