A taste of Mexico in Wickham
The Lass O’Gowrie Hotel has just become home to an exciting Mexican joint. Las Salsa Picante – which means hot sauce in Spanish – is the place for fresh, simple Mexican eats and a quality tequila and mezcal offering.
Entering via the painted vending machine door into Las Salsa Picante, you wouldn’t be remiss for thinking you’d wandered into a cantina in Mexico City.
Beaded door curtains jingle as you enter the dimly-lit room, a singer croons in Spanish over the speakers and margaritas are shaken at the bar.
Make sure to take in all the details that work together to give the restaurant its authentic Mexican feel – it’s a delight for the senses.
Tiny bottles of hot sauce line the shelves, horseshoes frame the door to the outside dining space where framed prints and cacti are scattered throughout.
It’s hard to believe Las Salsa Picante is within a busy pub, but separating the space was a deliberate decision by owner Andrew Dunne. Opening his own Mexican restaurant has been on the cards since he was 19.
“A mate and I travelled the world together and we wanted to come back to Newcastle and provide a good offering of Mexican food,” he said.
After putting the idea on the backburner for years, the time was finally right after he took over The Lass four years ago.
While the food menu will change up slightly each fortnight, you can always expect Mexican-inspired bar snacks with a modern Australian twist.
As Head Chef Josh commented: “We’re using the best ingredients we can find, not messing with them too much, and letting them speak for themselves.”
The menu is also entirely gluten-free and has plenty of vegetarian and vegan options, so everyone can get amongst the Mexican goodness.
Start with the unreal Corn Chips – deep-fried and crispy, they’re perfect for scooping up the restaurant’s array of Salsas or Avocado & Pico de Gallo.
Follow up your corn chips with a few small plates, like Fried King Brown Mushrooms with achiote or Raw Fish, Lime, Coriander and Tequila for a Mexican take on ceviche.
There’s also a range of tostadas to choose from, like Pulled Pork with pasilla chilli relish or the stand-out Marinated Zucchini with queso.
If you’re finding it hard to choose (we don’t blame you), why not order the Feed Me menu and try it all? For $60 a head, try everything on the menu (excluding drinks), until, to quote Andrew, “you tell us to stop.”
When it comes to drinks, the menu is dominated by tequila and mezcal-based cocktails. Think a Mezcal Sour, Jalisco Sunrise, Paloma and four varieties of margaritas.
Head into Las Salsa Picante for snacks and drinks before catching a gig at The Lass, or for late-night bites shared with mates.
Time to order a round of margaritas and be transported to Mexico.