Hola, Adelitas!

Photography by Dovydas Zintikas

In a city of seemingly unlimited gastronomical pleasures, Latino food is one category of cuisine somewhat overlooked. And whilst the rest of the world seems to have caught on to the hype that is all things Mexican, I think it’s fair to say that Denmark has been a little slow on the uptake.

Cue Adelitas — a Mexican eatery popping up around the city in the most unlikely of locations, dishing out quality Mexican food that is both modern and authentic.

Having launched no more than a year ago, the concept has so far been limited to a stall at Kødbyen’s Mad Marked and a handful of pop up ‘supper clubs’ around the city.

Last week, we went along to Adelitas’ third supper club at Folkets Madhus to see what all the fuss is about.

The concept

The brains behind the business are head chef Scott Navarro and Mexi-mastermind Sandy Buchanan. Scott is an exotic mix of Dane and Mexican and Sandy is a Melbournian with a solid background in the Aussie Mexican restaurant scene and passion for all things Latin American. The two met in 2014 after being introduced by a friend in the industry, and have been working together along with their barman, Chris, ever since.

And as with most good ideas, the inspiration came to Sandy whilst he was travelling and living in Mexico a few years back. Then, studying in Copenhagen in 2012, he recognised a niche in the market for his favourite cuisine and saw the opportunity to share his greatest gastronomical pleasure with the masses of Denmark.

“I felt that Mexican food and drink was underrepresented here in Copenhagen. I really believed it would be embraced if it were to come.”

Since 2014, the boys have been fervently working on their menus, hosting lavish dinners and searching for the perfect location for a restaurant — which they to open within the next year.

“Right now, people tend to think of Mexican as fast food. We want to show that it’s so much more than that. Modern Mexican is daring and exciting, sexy and fun.”

The food

Championing their menu as “as authentic as it gets”, the boys at Adelitas are passionate about delivering genuine, tasty Mexican food made with quality ingredients.

“Scott’s been cooking and eating Mexican food since he was born, thanks to his Mexican mother. And I’ve been in the industry for a while now, working at perhaps Australia’s first contemporary authentic Mexican restaurant, Mamasita.”

The Supper Club menu changes depending on the week, and is strongly influenced by the fresh, seasonal produce here in Denmark.

Last week, the menu included tamales with Mexican truffle and cheese, marinated grilled trout and a ridiculously delectable endive salad.

There were, of course, traditional tacos made with corn and grains, but there were also some fresh new flavours, such as a mouthwatering tres leches cake served with a powerful dose of Añejo tequila.

Personally, I couldn’t get over the caramelized short ribs with mulato chilli roasted in honey, served with burnt honey and a delicious grain salad. I quite literally fell in love at the first fork full, and didn’t stop lovin’ til my plate was licked clean.

Margarita madness

Adelitas prides itself on its alcohol selection, with each and every wine, beer and spirit handpicked by dedicated Danish bartender, Chris.

As a loyal Mexican enthusiast, I have slurped my way through my fair share of margaritas in Copenhagen in a dedicated effort to find my favourite — and I can say with complete confidence that I am yet to find one as light and refreshing as Adelitas’ — the perfect combination of sweet and salty, laced with the very best tequila on the block.

And that’s exactly what Adelitas is about — pioneering the best Mexican menu on the block. An eclectic mix of quirk and class, the crossroads between traditional and contemporary.

In the words of the boys themselves:

“When people walk into the restaurant, they won’t necessarily know it’s Mexican — there certainly won’t be sombreros and piñatas everywhere. But when they smell the food, see the convivial atmosphere and hear the Latin tunes crackling away on vinyl, they’ll know.”

Where to find them

The boys currently have a stand at Kodbyen’s Mad & Marked every Saturday throughout the summer, as well as bi-weekly ‘Supper Clubs’.

They will also be at Distortion Festival this week, serving tacos to the drunken masses.

Follow them on Facebook or Instagram for updates on these events, and checkout their website, adelitas.dk for more information.