Food News

Toby Wilson, Seán McManus and Jon Kennedy to open Bad Hombres

Expect Mexican-Asian flavours and an all-natural wine list from two of Sydney’s edgier operators.

Ghostboy Cantina's fried pig's ear with cucumbers and hot sauce

Chris Chen

Expect Mexican-Asian flavours and an all-natural wine list from two of Sydney’s edgier operators.

This could break new ground in meta-dining: a pop-up collaboration based on a collaborative pop-up. Toby Wilson of Sydney pop-up taco shop Ghostboy and Seán McManus and Jon Kennedy of Neighbourhood café in Surry Hills are poised to open Bad Hombres, a temporary eatery specialising in Asian-Mexican eats and natural wines.

Related: Ghostboy Cantina’s pork tacos with salsa roja and nashi

Opening on 1 March, Bad Hombres (a tongue-in-cheek reference to Donald Trump) will take over the Surry Hills space that briefly housed Juicy Lucy before the site is demolished. “It’s fun not knowing how long we have in the space,” says McManus, “but it’s perfect for the concept we’ve got.” The “concept” will build upon the successful (and flavour-packed) foundation laid by Ghostboy in its Chinatown food court and Tio’s tequila bar incarnations, but with a (marginally) more grown-up approach – and great wine. “Toby and I have been close mates for ages,” says McManus. “We thought it would be fun if Ghostboy had some really yummy wines and a more mature space that really lets it shine.”

The 50-seat, open-plan restaurant will have a partially open kitchen, a bar with four or five seats and mostly communal tables, while the menu will be in keeping with Ghostboy’s flavour profile – Mexican ingredients combined with Asian techniques and produce. On the bar menu, for instance, Wilson is planning a fried pig’s ear sandwich with cucumber and hot sauce, plus the return of Ghostboy’s char-grilled corn with Japanese mayonnaise and furikake. There’ll also be large taco plates for sharing. Expect “a big hunk of protein, such as pork belly rubbed with Mexican chilli, a bowl of herbs, some peaches, a bunch of salsas and a choice of corn tortillas, Chinese pancakes or lettuce cups”. One plate will be about five tacos, he says.

McManus is currently drawing up a short, sharp and affordable list of eight or 10 Australian natural wines, all available by the glass. “I’m a big fat vegan and I don’t like eggs and fish in my wine,” he says. “They’re all going to be light and smashable, very ‘shut up and drink me now’.” There’ll also be a couple of beers, and the team is trying to get their hands on a slushie machine for some dodgy cocktails, as Wilson puts it. For McManus, the goal is for more people to taste more wines, and to know exactly where their drop has come from.

Wilson, McManus and Kennedy are experts on coffee, and while there’s not a huge demand for it at a dinner-only venue, a filter offering will make an appearance. “We’ll also use coffee in a dessert I’m working on,” says Wilson, “a corn custard with coffee, cornflakes and malt – the greatest flavour in the world.”

Bad Hombres opens 1 March 2017, 40 Reservoir St, Surry Hills, NSW; Wednesday to Saturday 5pm-midnight.

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