Just like a vandal, this “not Mexican” restaurant has left its mark on Newtown’s vegan mile (aka King Street). It’s got the grit and the grunge of a backstreet food vendor complete with tacos, tequila and perhaps the cheapest vegan set menu in Sydney. Though unlike a vandal, this restaurant is doing its part – and more – for sustainability with solar-powered ovens and upcycled decor.
The food at Vandal is not authentic Mexican, it’s ‘vandalised’ Mexican. Each dish pays homage to the Latino food trucks of Los Angeles where they’re not afraid to break the rules and fuse flavours from across the world. Before we dive into the menu, it’s worth mentioning that Vandal is completely plant-based – and they go big on flavour. Smashed guacamole, chargrilled #cornporn, and toasty mushroom quesadillas are some of the staple vego options. Plus, there’s a bunch of fun plant-based spins on your favourite classic dishes – think zingy no-fin tuna ceviche tostadas; oozy cheeseburger spring rolls; and eight-hour barbecue birria nachos. And no Mexican fiesta is complete without tacos, of course. Vandal’s numbers include a crisp Korean eggplant taco with ‘haloumi’, cashew créma, miso fermented chilli barbecue sauce and slaw; popcorn ‘prawn’; ‘pollo asada’ (grilled chick’n), and charred ‘lam’. We reckon you should go to (New)town and get all four.
Pimp your dinner with Vandal’s $35 set menu which features guacamole; crisp zucchini flowers; ceviche tostada; chargrilled corn; wild mushroom quesadilla; and your choice of taco. It’s also conveniently 100 per cent gluten-free and arguably one of the cheapest set menus in town.
In Taco Tuesday tradition, Vandal lets loose with $4 tacos and $15 Margys every Tuesday. You could settle for the Notorious M.A.R.G with Altos Plata Tequila, Cointreau and lime, but there are also always four seasonal frozen Margaritas available in flavours like passionfruit, coconut and blood orange. For those wondering, all of Vandal’s beers and wine are 100 per cent vegan too.
Vandal gets extra churros points for their commitment to sustainability. They’ve installed 84 solar panels to power their electric ovens, have a “no lights in the kitchen at night” policy (which means they sometimes cook by candlelight), buy locally from growers within 20 minutes of the restaurant, and embrace the whole plant – root to shoot – to limit their waste.
All of Vandal’s furniture is second (sometimes third and fourth) hand and has been upcycled into trendy ‘designer’ wares by their resident spray paint artist Arnie Arnold. Inside is a rainbow explosion and even the bathrooms are decked out with quirky graffiti and colourful art. Our thoughts? Vandal is the perfect place to knock back Margaritas and tacos you can feel good about.