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El Loco Pop-Up Restaurant & Bar at the Opera House

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by Adrian Kmita (subscribe)
Writer, Photographer, Producer & Osteopath. A Sydneysider traveling the world solving life's puzzles. twitter.com/AdrianKmita
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Pop-up Mexican fiesta this summer at the Sydney Opera House
El Loco at the Opera House
El Loco at the Opera House

Pop-up restaurants and bars have become the craze in recent years, displaying unique expressions of gastronomy at the most exclusive and interesting locations locally and around the world. Sydney is definitely not one to be left behind in this enterprise. One of Sydney's most popular pop-up bars and restaurants, The Bucket List at Bondi Beach, has been so successful that it has locked in its exclusive location indefinitely. On the tails of this success and with the impending Sydney Festival upon us, signifying the unofficial start to summer in January, Sydney has decided to push the boundaries and take advantage of all the resources it has to offer. This includes the most majestic views of Sydney Harbour.

El Loco at the Opera House
El Loco at the Opera House

The Sydney Opera House, which is probably Sydney's most famous piece of real estate, has been ironically under utilised in the past. That is all about to change this January. Justin Hemmes, proprietor of the numerous Merivale restaurants and bars around Sydney, has teamed up with the City of Sydney and the Sydney Opera House for one hell of a fiesta this summer. El Loco, the much-loved Surry Hills Mexican cantina themed restaurant will be "popping up" on the western forecourt of the Opera House this January as part of the "Summer at the House" promotion. This series of shows includes ground breaking theatre productions ranging from cutting edge and genre-defying entertainment to stadium spectaculars, all part of this year's Sydney Festival.

Tacos and Hot Dogs available from El Loco at the Opera House
Tacos and Hot Dogs available from El Loco at the Opera House

El Loco is famous for everything Mexican, including Corona's, margaritas, tequilas and gastronomically reconstructed tacos and hot dogs. Head chef Dan Hong, also responsible for venues Ms. G's and Mr. Wong, has taken El Loco to new heights with his gastronomic delights at bargain prices. In the 2012 Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide, El Loco was acknowledged with the Best New Cheap Eat Award as part of the Everyday Eats Awards.

El Loco at the Opera House
El Loco at the Opera House

It's no coincidence that super chef Dan Hong will also be overseeing the event, serving up some of his most marvellous creations and innovations involving the humble taco, including spit roasted pork tacos and the "secret taco" which will be changed on a daily basis. Kids won't feel neglected either with various mini hotdogs on offer. A "breakfast taco" will also be available from 10am. To add to all the excitement, there is nothing on the menu over $15, and that includes the margaritas.

Classic Margaritas from El Loco at the Opera House
Classic Margaritas from El Loco at the Opera House


El Loco at the Opera House
El Loco at the Opera House

In addition to El Loco, a new pop-up champagne and cocktail bar named The Cove will also be on location at the Opera House, servicing all the thirsty revellers in need of amazing harbour scenery. This pop-up bar will be located on the upper tier of the Opera House forecourt overlooking El Loco. The Cove is inspired by a sensational "Great Gatsby" theme, with includes details such as pictures of the Sydney Harbour Bridge under construction on their menus. It also provides guests with a fantastic opportunity to overlook the crazy fiesta below at El Loco from the Opera House podium level.

El Loco at the Opera House
El Loco at the Opera House


El Loco at the Opera House
El Loco at the Opera House

If there is one thing that the Merivale group does well, it's that it always seems to accomplish authentic themes for its restaurants and bars. El Loco and The Cove are no exception. The Opera House forecourt has officially been transformed into a Mexican oasis. Tropical trees surround the venue in addition to the multicoloured outdoor furniture and marquees. Moreover, there are various bands playing Mexican tunes as well as other contemporary music which really adds to the carnival atmosphere. Best of all there is a dance floor under the main stage made from an enormous sand pit.

Sand pit at El Loco at the Opera House
Sand pit at El Loco at the Opera House


Stage at El Loco at the Opera House
Stage at El Loco at the Opera House

If absorbing the summer rays and fantastic views while sampling some quality food and drinks at bargain prices is your thing, then make your way there as soon as you can. The El Loco pop-up at the Opera House is set to close at the end of January unless the fiesta gets extended.
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Why? A pop-up restaurant and bar themed as a Mexican fiesta with the best views of Sydney Harbour
When: This summer from January 4th 2013, 10am until late.
Where: Sydney Opera House
Cost: Menu items $15 or less
Your Comment
The menu items may be $15 or less, but what you get for your money is way below expectations. Something these guys need to learn is proper portion sizing with mexican food.

$6 for a tiny soft taco. No thanks.

The location is great though.
by Brendan Holland (score: 0|2) 1783 days ago
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