'Hi mate!’ ‘G’day mate!’ ‘Welcome to Lucha Loco, mate!’ cheered a procession of wait staff with antipodean accents as we entered the restaurant – not quite the Mexican welcome we were expecting from this new Duxton Hill establishment, which has taken over the space formerly used by the Irish pub garden The Toucan (sadly, the grassy outdoor space no longer seems to be utilised). To be honest, we weren’t quite sure what to expect from Lucha Loco’s claim to be inspired by the masked brand of Mexican wrestling they’re named after, though short of a couple of pictures of fighters and a bust above the bar, the sleek, wood-furnished restaurant doesn’t seem to be overplaying its theme or gimmicks too much. A wise move.
The menu is an admirably balanced two pages worth of food to four pages of beverage, with a range of cocktails like the Mexican Mule ($16), sangria ($18) and beers (including of course, bottles of Corona, $15). Food is best described as gourmet Mexican street food. Ranging from corn chips served with your choice of sharp tomato salsa or fresh guacamole ($12/two dips, $9/one dip, $6 for plain chips), up to rib-eye steak for $40. A range of tacos are served individually at a price of $10 each – you’ll want at least two for full meal. The braised beef and chorizo taco was delicate and packed with flavour, filled with a blend of herbs and finely chopped spring onions. Their chicken quesadillas ($16) were equally striking, confirming Lucho Loco can deliver in the authenticity stakes. On a busy night along Duxton, expect a short wait but breezy – if Aussie-flavoured – service. On our visit during a Thursday, a near constant throng of dining pairs was in line throughout the evening, evidence that buzz is clearly growing for this Mexican joint – if not for the wrestling, then certainly for the food and vibe. Matt Bellotti