The folks at Rockpool Dining Group know how to nail a culinary concept. To date, the hospitality crew has crafted several recognisable and popular fun-casual brands that span cultures and cuisines – think The Bavarian (and its beery offshoots), Fratelli Fresh and El Camino Cantina. Of Rockpool’s foodie family, El Camino Cantina is the vibrantly dressed, rock’n’roll listening, heavily tatted and effortlessly cool child – less black sheep, and more cheekily rebellious instigator. El Camino Cantina became fast friends with Brisbane diners when it arrived on the scene last year, standing out on Bowen Hills’ King Street strip with its fluorescent signage, musical memorabilia and vivid aesthetic touches paying homage to its Mexican roots. It was only a matter of time before El Camino expanded in Brisbane, and in September it was revealed that Westfield Chermside had been chosen as the locale for the concept’s next 220-seat eatery and bar. Nestled in between Tapworks Bar & Grill and Kamikaze Teppanyaki in the former home of Hermosa, El Camino Cantina has transplanted its lively fit-out, which boasts a blend between a scruffy dive-bar aesthetic and Mexican cantinas. Guests are greeted by pops of vibrant colour, from the neon lights and multi-hued sombreros to intricate calaveras and mosaic-tiled bench tops.
Tex-Mex cuisine is at the heart of El Camino’s culinary offering, starting with complimentary, bottomless chips and salsa, and moving through a greatest hits of Mexican-inspired staples. Signature dishes include El Camino’s soft-shell tacos stuffed with your choice of flavoursome filling (including mushroom with chipotle coleslaw and beer-battered barramundi with green-mango salsa), loaded nachos topped with melted cheese, black beans, chilli con carne and smoked barbecue brisket, and burritos packed to bursting point with chipotle chicken, brisket and queso or black beans and vegetables. The menu doesn’t stop there – we haven’t even mentioned the sizzling fajitas, chicken wings and vegan-friendly morsels. Perhaps just as popular as the Tex-Mex fare, El Camino Cantina’s margaritas are the stuff of legend. These chilled beauties come frozen or served on the rocks, with flavours including classic, mango, strawberry and tropical Red Bull flavours (not to mention a rotating monthly special). Tequilas and mezcals also flow, while Australian craft beer and Mexican cervezas round out the array of quaffing material.
El Camino Cantina officially opens at Westfield Chermside today, but on Sunday October 13 the eatery will host free face-painting from 12:00–3:00 pm, while children under the age of 12 can score a free meal from the kids’ menu with a paying adult. Head to the Stumble Guide for more information.