Sarah Doyle, of Continental Deli and Porteno renown, has just recast Bodega 1904 at The Tramsheds as a Mexican Cantina. They’ve created a space that we’ll be eating at over and over again, with thoughtful, fresh, and delicious Mexican fare. Over a couple of Margaritas and one of the best Mexican spreads we’ve had in a while, we sat down with Sarah to chat about her experience on Sydney’s food scene, the new Bodega 1904 over at The Tramsheds, and her favourite cookbook.
You have a very distinctive style. Where do you think this comes from and what continues to feed it?
I grew up buying most of my clothes from op shops & wearing 'hand-me-downs' being fifth in line of a family of 6 girls. It makes sense that I'm very inspired by the past, and an addiction to finding amazing pieces keeps me searching.
Our local Bodega 1904, at The Tramsheds, has just undergone a makeover to become a Mexican Cantina. We can’t wait to visit. Can you tell us a little bit more about this exciting new venture?
We've recently had a new chef Alvero join the team as head chef who, along with our sous chef XXX are from Mexico, both amazing at cooking Mexican cuisine so we thought it was a perfect opportunity to change the direction of the restaurant. We have also been fortunate enough to have Michael Nicholian from Continental Deli put together a drinks list, obviously complete with Margaritas! The menu will be a good mix of family friendly but also dishes that you don't see on every Mexican menu.
Being in such an eclectic area, we can imagine Bodega 1904 Cantina caters to everything from date nights, to family meals, to quick after work catch-ups. What would be your top three dishes on the menu that we have to try?
- The Tacos
- Kingfish Ceviche
- The Watermelon Margarita
We’ve heard that you love to bake. Does your baking style reflect your sartorial taste, with a leaning towards retro classics that your mother or grandmother would have made?
I am a terrible cook (probably why I married a chef) and love baking but am also pretty bad at that too, but prefer it because there is a precise formula to follow. These days I tend to only bake 'healthier' style food for my kids.
You’ve been the brains and eyes behind some of our favourite restaurant fit outs. How do you go about designing a restaurant space and what’s the most important thing you always keep in mind when going about this?
I'm a small part of a wonderful group of people that make up each venue. Each person brings something unique and I'd like to think this balance of skills is what makes them successful. I always say that I'm the fluff, the little bits and pieces that you see but we all work together to create workable spaces that are true to their identity- where they are, the style of dining, and how you want people to feel in the venue. Most importantly though, we are creating places that we want to go to. A perfect example of this is Bodega 1904, as we all love Mexican food but find it hard to find places to go that do it the way we like it - now we have one!
Do you have a go-to meal you’ll make after a long day at work?
I try really hard not to eat late, but we do have delicious tea!
Elvis bought me "La Grotta Ices" by Kitty Travers because it's visually delicious, and I have used it for colour inspiration a few times. Elvis loves it for the recipes!
Do you have any food heroes?
Elvis Abrahanowicz (obviously), but other than my husband there are too many others to choose just one!
What, in your opinion, defines good style?
I think when all components of an outfit or a space are considered and balanced well together either to be bold or simple, but great style is truly owning it with confidence.
Best place in Sydney for a lazy Sunday Lunch?
Best place for a drink?
Continental Deli Newtown.
Best meal with a view?
Favourite place to take your girls?
Bodega 1904 because there's always parking, a huge change room, they'll always forgive the girls outbreaks, I can pick up groceries on my way out from the supermarket & it’s a delicious restaurant to boot!
Favourite Children’s book?
My Body by Little Gestalten - It’s interesting for me, my 6 year old and the little 2 year olds can point at things too (although I may have glued together the last page on Reproduction though to avoid unnecessary questions!).
Favourite spot for vintage shopping in Sydney?
There's not many but Route 66 in Enmore have been dealing in great vintage for decades.
What item can’t you live without from Jim & Jane?
All my Sika pieces, of which there’s more than 3! I do also love my cushion covers and the Coconut Sunscreen from the Feel Good Inc.
What 3 items at Jim & Jane do you currently have on your Wishlist?
The entire Sika collection to come.