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Nu'u by Nativo

Glebe Point Road's two-storey Mexican restaurant and mezcal bar celebrates southern Mexican cuisine and small-batch spirits.
By Ben Hansen
September 20, 2023
By Ben Hansen
September 20, 2023

Sydney's two-storey, 60-seat restaurant and mezcal bar Nu'u is all about flavour-packed southern Mexican food. The homely eatery comes to Glebe Point Road from the Oaxaca-born team behind Nativo in Pyrmont — Michelin-trained chef Manuel Diaz alongside his partner and agave expert Diana Farrera. While Nativo is a quick and simple takeaway-style spot, Nu'u focuses more on spotlighting Diaz's favourite dishes from his home country in an expansive dine-in lunch and dinner spot.

Located within a Victorian-era terrace house, Nu'u welcomes patrons in with a large open kitchen out front where you'll see the team whipping up that night's creations. From there you'll either take your place in the terracotta-coloured dining room upstairs or out back where you'll find a charming al fresco area.

Mexican food from Nu'u restaurant

The word Nu'u is used by the southern Mexican indigenous Mixtec group to mean land when referring to harvesting produce. This connection to land sits at the centre of the restaurant's menu of share plates, all of which draw inspiration from the Oaxacan region of south Mexico and lovingly incorporate native Australian ingredients.

Expect big flavours from the vibrant guacamole; the cured prawn, salmon and snapper toloache ceviche; the pulpo escondido (grilled octopus on a bed of hand-ground chilli paste with huitlacoche and tostada) and the chile relleno (poblano chillis stuffed with shiitake picadillo and served over mole verde).

A standout on the menu is the Memela Del Mercado, a grilled maize patty covered in bone marrow beans, pork shoulder and queso fesco. And, if you're for a hearty main to sit at the centre of the meal, the kitchen recommends the crispy pork belly or the roasted chicken with chipotle butter.

Dining room at Nu'u Mexican restaurant in Sydney

Diaz's breadth of experience comes from working across some of the most renowned restaurants in Mexico, as well as the Michelin-starred La Chevre d'Or in France. Since moving to Australia, he's occupied kitchens across the Milpa Collective Group's collection of Mexican favourites like Sonora and Carbon, and headed up Bar Patron as the Executive Chef before opening Nativo last year.

While the food is the star of the show, the drinks list is also impressive, with Farrera, a certified mezcologist, leading the charge. The lover of all things agave has been working with top bartenders from Oaxaca to create a cocktail menu that showcases artisanal small-batch mezcal. Each creation is named after famous Oaxacan women — from philanthropists to fictional figures — and each drink highlights a different flavour profile within the mezcal.

The bold flavours emerging from the kitchen are complemented by bold pieces of art around the venue including wood-carved figures from San Martin Tilcajete by the Jacobo & Maria Angeles atelier, custom-made weaving artworks from Teotitlan del Valle, red clay pieces from Atzompa and a painting celebrating bush medicine plants from The Artery in Darlinghurst.

Cocktails at Nu'u restaurant

Images: Nick de Lorenzo

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