With walls of photos showing anyone who’s anyone in the jazz world, you might be scratching your head as to why The Basement has gone all Mexican, giving Attila Yilmaz’s popular pop-up permanent digs? Half way through a Mariachi Monday night, I’m convinced this pairing will breathe new life into Sydney’s world music scene. The talented Victor Valdes (on harp) has my toes tapping to the Buena Vista Social Club’s Chan Chan, and I’ve decided I want my own set of Beastman blinds. Okay, maybe my Margarita ($16) kicked in. After a Rio Bravo ($5) chaser (with chilli salt and lime) unpuckers my lips from the super-tart cocktail, I get stuck into nicely blackened Spit Roast Chipotle Wings ($10). Scooping up the last skerrick of addictive grilled corn Elote ($10) with a tortilla chip, I progress to Negra Modelo ($9) and promptly declare: it’s taco time. Al Pastor ($6) – spit roasted pig – scrubs up best on the pliable (pork fat) tortillas, but do tell those hombres to slap on the pineapple salsa – it’s what makes this particular taco sing! Sure, it’s chaotic, crowded and about as far from a fine diner as you can get, but if you don’t take it (or yourself) too seriously, you’ll have a good time.
The Basement, 7 Macquarie Place, Sydney
Ph: (02) 9251 2797 thebasement.com.au