In general, I’m not into pop-ups, food trucks and other trendy things. However, I do love good food, and am always willing to try something new. So when I heard that the home of the famed Al Carbón food truck was just up the road from me in Canterbury, and that it was (occasionally) home to a pop-up restaurant called La Lupita, I was intrigued to try it.
Despite being quite industrial inside, the atmosphere is kept warm and welcoming by masses of candle jars, beautiful live music and the wonderful fragrance of the charcoal grill. And the staff – so lovely! No pretension here!
The menu was simple but enticing, with five botanas (tapas), four types of taco, and even a dessert. Alas on our visit we were only after a quick bite and didn’t have time to wait until 7pm, when the first orders for tacos are taken. Happily though we did thoroughly enjoy the dishes we did get to sample.
First up, a serve of meatballs* – suggested by the waitress but not on the menu (hence my really fancy authentic Mexican name, ‘meatballs with tomato and cheese’). The juicy and tender meatballs were covered in a deliciously rich, piquant sauce, and the cheese was like nothing I’d had before – almost stringy, but also soft and sweet. The chicken wings ‘al Carbón’ were my favourite. They had an incredible depth of flavour, warm from the spiced chipotle lime mayo, and the perfect sticky, smoky exterior. My only wish was that there were more of them!
Last of all we were brought the elote, sweet hot corn kernels with chilli lime salt, piled over a delicious soft cheese on a toasted tortilla. (Sorry if it’s not a tortilla… my Mexican food knowledge is very is patchy!) A side of corn chips helped scoop up the delicious mess. Sooooooo good.
These delicious botanas were washed down with a glass of the house white which, unfortunately, I didn’t get to take a photo of – it was gorgeous! I’ll have to ask the lovely folks to send me the name so I can include it in my favourites, it was that good.
(Don’t be afraid, non-hipsters, the food really is good!)La Lupita 325 Canterbury Rd Canterbury 0416 061 974 *I’ve since been informed the scrummy meatballs were albondingas with smoked chipotle sauce, topped with Queso de Oaxaca