Review: Sonora Mexican – Potts Point, Sydney

 Sonora Mexican - Potts Point. Review BoyEatsWorld

Raff road-tests the menu at the recently reinvented Sonora Mexican in Potts Point, a venue where modern Mexican flavours meet fine dining finesse.

Over the past few years Sydney’s Mexican food scene decided to ditch its Tex-Mex sombrero and embark on a culinary makeover, saying adiós to the artery-clogging, cheese and sour cream-smothered faux-Mexican monstrosities to say hola to a cuisine that’s more refined, and well, actually Mexican. And I for one was thrilled. But if you’d asked me to point you in the direction of a game changing high-end, Mexican restaurant, I couldn’t have helped.

However, the dining gods smiled upon me this week when I met Sonora where, under the exceptional leadership of new Head Chef and Owner Roy McVeigh (ex-Berowra Waters Inn, Bathers Pavilion, Guillaume at Bennelong), modern Mexican flavours meet fine dining finesse.

The venue itself is a vibe. Inside is industrial chic, with low lighting and walls lined with wine racks and too cool art while outside offers a more relaxed al fresco feel. And for those who like to get right in on the action there’s even a row of stools at the window of the open kitchen so you can pull-up a seat and chat with the chefs as they whip up culinary wonders.

 Sonora Mexican - Potts Point

Despite Sonora’s immaculate vibes the star is of course, the food.

We decided to start our evening with a couple of tacos. From my first bite of a pork mojo tacos, something popped in my head. I had never tasted Mexican like this. Perfectly succulent chunks of pork with quatro epices and just the right amount of sauerkraut for balance, on a perfect, hand-made tortilla, they were a thing of sublime simplicity and the best tacos I had ever had!  At least, they were the best tacos I had ever had, until we moved on to the spicy octopus taco. You know how octopus can be disappointing – chewy and lacking flavour? Yeah, that’s not happening at Sonora. These were mum’s choice and completely exceeded my expectations. The occy was so tender and tasted of the ocean without being overwhelmingly fishy. It was complemented by a pickled wakame and a spicy, nutty salsa macha that tied the whole taco together into a couple bites of utter perfection.

Taco selection at Sonora Potts Point

It was at this point I thought we had reached a taco ceiling, because how on earth was anything going to beat that. But, oops. It did it again. I had initially been sceptical about the Tempura Tender Cactus Taco but mum, who has eaten at a bunch of Michelin-starred Mexican venues across southern America, convinced me to give it a go. Now, the thought of chowing down on a cactus had me envision something stringy and gooey accompanied by a mouthful of prickly spikes. But the reality was taco heaven. Spicy from salsa macha and crunchy from the light batter, the cactus meat itself is a juicy, crisp morsel of vegetable (or perhaps fruit, is cactus a fruit or a vegetable?). Whatever it is, it was perfect. I could eat a thousand of these happily.

While I’m not a fan of the neon-yellow cheese-laden muck masquerading as Mexican, I do love cheese. And when Sonora does cheese, they do cheese RIGHT! The Baked Oaxacan Cheese is a dish I’d never had before but had to order after seeing it roll out at another table.

Baked Oaxacan Cheese at Sonora Potts Point

A pale, mild cheese with a stringy texture like mozzarella, Oacaxan cheese has a gentle, creamy flavor underscored by a delightful hint of saltiness and a hint of sour tang. The addition of honey, green chorizo, pico de gallo, and fresh soft tortillas for scooping, made for a sweet and spicy delight, without being heavy. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

And just like that, we were onto the mains. First up was the much anticipated (by me) duck carnitas, a slow cooked Michoacán-style dish that would usually use pork. But the slow cooked pulled duck doused in a bittersweet hibiscus sauce, hazelnut crumbs and jalapeno chipotle took this to a whole new level. Served with a big bowl of warm tortillas, I pretty much licked the bowl clean.

duck carnitas at Sonora Potts Point

Then out from the kitchen came Sonora’s pièce de résistance. The most beautiful slab of steak I have ever had the pleasure of even looking at, let alone eating. Every single slice of the buttery Black OPAL Wagyu +7 Rump CAP, cooked to pure medium rare perfection, melted on my tongue. I was seriously considering the possibility that I was eating unicorn meat. It was that magical.

Black OPAL Wagyu +7 Rump CAP Sonora Mexican

Served with mushrooms, palm heart (the taste and texture of which was a little like a mild-artichoke) on a broth-like charros it was literal perfection. I will apologise to the other patrons for the moaning happy noises I couldn’t contain while eating it.

Finally, after ta quick margarita break (mine was non-alcoholic don’t worry), I twisted my already sated mum’s arm, we moved onto the desert, which had a lot to live up to considering the quality of the food so far. We ordered the Goats Cheesecake Tostada, served with raspberry granita and corn husk ash. The goat’s cheese was creamy and tasty and speckled with basil, which gave it a sweet-savoury taste which I love. The kitchen was out of raspberries, so our granita was instead crafted from the prickly pears sitting on the taco bar.

Prickly pears at Sonora

OMG! I had to thank the culinary gods that they were out of raspberries. The prickly pear granita had zero right to be that good. Seriously, the lumpy, spiky fruit looks a litttle like a potato with teeth and probably wont be winning any beauty competitions. But the taste… wow. Slathered with the goats cheese on to crispy tostadas, which gave the dish texture, it proved a perfect end to a perfect meal.

This place is a revelation. If I were handing out chef hat awards, this place would definitely be wearing one, though it might be slightly sombrero shaped.

Reviewed by Raff – Age 15

Sonora Mexican – Potts Point
1/37-41 Bayswater Rd,
Potts Point NSW
(02) 9160 9712

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Hey, I’m Aleney! A mum, award-winning travel writer, magazine editor and gallivanting glutton. He’s Raff, the “boy” in boyeatsworld, and a fearless foodie, adventurer and eco-warrior. Along with his all-singing, all-dancing, all-adventurous sister, Sugarpuff, we’re exploring the world’s colour, culture and cuisine on a food safari for the junior set.

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