Calle Rey lives a double life. Not only does the fully vegan restaurant push boundaries with its innovative Mexican fusion cuisine, but it plays host to the world's first plant-based Peruvian Pisco bar with mighty 1L Lageritas and mini Margarita tasting flights.
The name ‘Calle Rey’ translates to King Street and you’ll find this little gem nestled on the northern end of Newtown’s vegan mile. However, don’t be fooled. Calle Rey serves up much more than black bean tacos and guacamole with corn chips. Brace yourself for glossy watermelon tuna tartare, smoky barbecue ‘chicken' tacos and Japanese fusion ‘prawn’ sushi.
Leading the kitchen is head honcho Juan Carlos 'JC' Miranda, who has considerable plant-based credentials – he's worked at the Plant Gallery, Hills Organic, Shift Eatery and most recently, as head chef at Bad Hombres. JC brings a touch of his Peruvian culinary heritage to traditional Mexican fare, while weaving in flavours inspired by Japan, and his creations will leave your meat-eating mates questioning how it’s all plant-based.
Take the smoked chicken nachos for starters. It features a bed of corn chips loaded with jackfruit ‘chicken’ that might have you double taking, with black beans, sweet potato cheddar, pico de gallo, guacamole and sour cream. If you want to trick your carnivorous companions, have them try Calle Rey’s slow-baked watermelon ‘tuna’ tartare, which replicates the glossy texture and mouthfeel of raw fish.
Taco Tuesday is a hit with $5 tacos and the party extends to Thursday with Calle Rey’s $35 taco experience – sample your way through all seven of their taco creations, like the fried ‘calamari’, Fable mushroom ‘carnitas’ (reminiscent of slow-cooked pulled pork), cheeseburger and a Japanese-inspired California roll taco with realistic ‘prawn’, cream ‘cheese’, teriyaki sauce and wasabi mayo.
Calle Rey also marries Mexican and Japanese cuisine with its fried sushi rolls, including the maki furai (fish roll) with tempura ‘crab’ and the aka maki with ‘prawn’ tartar and fried ‘calamari'.
Within the walls of Calle Rey, you’ll find the first-of-its-kind Diablo Pisco Bar, which showcases the best of Peruvian mixology with a unique Pisco-based cocktail menu. Start with a classic Pisco Sour (which expertly keeps the foam but loses the egg), before adventuring on to Diablo’s housemade Sangria or signature Cholopolitan with Pisco, cranberry juice, lime juice, triple sec and fresh passionfruit pulp.
Once the Pisco party is started, share a round of massive 1L Lageritas in fresh flavours like lime, watermelon and Pina Colada, or liven up the night with a captivating cocktail tasting of four mini margaritas or Pisco Sours.
Whether your night is just starting or is coming to a close, there’s always a seat or bar stool for you inside Calle Rey. The brightly painted murals and twinkling fairy lights, along with pumping tunes, create the perfect party atmosphere for big groups, while being intimate enough for date night too.