From their new food truck, Cantina Mobil, Rode Vella and Stephanie Raco will peddle a menu of slow-cooked Mexican treats, non-alcoholic sangria and chilli-chocolate ice-cream. They are revving the engines and expect to open for business in the next few days. Their competition is not far behind, with Sydney's fleet of food trucks expected to roll out by July.
Veggie Patch, a colourful food truck selling quality vegetarian fare and built to resemble a barn, is close to completion, as is Peter Saad's pastizzi-filled van.
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Mobile Mexican is one of 10 food trucks about to be licensed to serve top quality food within the City of Sydney.
The Asian-inspired Tsuru is attending pop-up events before its launch. The Eat Art Truck says it is eager to start. Stephane Chevassus a L'Antoine of Urban Pasta says he will be on the road in late June. His truck is still being built. ''I hope it's earlier but I prefer to plan large,'' he says.
The arrival of mobile food trucks will inject excitement into the city food scene, and vendors are promising fresh and honest food, sometimes with added extras. Four truck locations have been approved while others are waiting for confirmation. The proposed sites are shown.
Rowan Bates of Lets Do Yum Cha says his truck will have daily specials, as well as special offers for social media followers. Al Carbon's chef, Attila Yilmaz, promises ''music, seating depending on location and the occasional mariachi. We want to encourage people to hang around and party with us.''
''There's definitely a gap in the market between the food court and the local restaurant,'' Saad, of the Bite Size Delights truck, says. ''There's a demand for food at odd times of the day and night, and before and after work, and [at] trading centres not well served by retail food outlets.''
Council plans to operate 12 food truck stops in the city, rotating vans every three hours through prominent, high-traffic sites including the Customs House forecourt, Martin Place and Pitt Street Mall, as well as parks on the edge of the central business district.
Food trucks will also be free to park along designated roads in fringe CBD suburbs such as Glebe and Surry Hills under a schedule to be finalised by council soon. Vendors will be required to keep to parking limits and not park within 200 metres of existing food venues.
Scheduled stop-offs will be booked by Sydney City Council and customers can track truck locations via a smartphone app. After a year-long trial, the council will decide if the vans will become a permanent fixture. Initially, there will be no seating, but some vendors hope this will change once security, lighting and public liability issues are resolved.
As to which truck goes where, and when, Saad hopes the vendors can, over time, work co-operatively to share sites based on demand. Some operators expect steady all-day demand whereas others are gearing up for mealtime rushes. Given public support, Saad thinks the food truck idea could expand to other council areas, as well as corporate events and public holiday festivals.
THE FIRST FLEET
Eat Art Truck
Food style Progressive food with a barbecue theme influenced by Japanese and Korean cuisine and the US's deep south.
Signature dishes Southern-style smoky barbecue; Korean ssam-style wraps; kingfish ceviche; Japanese-influenced seafood dishes with salads and homemade pickles.
Chef/creator Stuart McGill has been at Tetsuya's for five years - three as sous chef - and has worked at Longrain and Galileo.
Mission To make great food, using techniques from some of the city's top restaurants, accessible to Sydneysiders at different times throughout the day.
Extras The menu will be divided into Small Eats, Green Eats, Main Eats and Sweet Eats. One side of the van will display work by some of Sydney's best street artists. The art will change regularly and be auctioned at an annual charity event.
Prices From $6.
Lets Do Yum Cha
Food style Chinese favourites such as barbecue pork buns, prawn and chive dumplings, chicken dim sims, prawn gow gee, vegetarian gow gee and mushroom gow gee.
Signature dishes Twice-cooked pork belly with plum sauce served on a Chinese spoon; seasonally available dessert of mango pancake.
Chef/creator A variety of chefs with a combined 50 years' experience making authentic yum cha.
Mission To bring Sydney authentic yum cha, made fresh from locally sourced ingredients.
Extras Trailer folds out into an Asian-style dining cart. There will be offers for the truck's social media followers and daily specials.
Prices Yum cha, $2-$2.50/piece; $10/pack of six.
Food style Slow-cooked Mexican treats, with non-alcoholic sangria and chilli-chocolate ice-cream.
Signature dishes Chipotle beef, slow-roasted for six hours and served with soft-flour tortilla teamed with a chilli con queso; slow-cooked pinto beans.
Chef/creator Simon Livingstone, former sous chef for Kensington Place in London and founding head chef at InSitu in Manly.
Mission To create accessible, gourmet fast food using Australian raw produce and imported Mexican chillies, seeds and pulses.
Extras Customers can perch on Mexican blankets placed around the truck.
Prices Chilli corn, $3.50/tub; tacos, $4.50; burritos, $9.50.
Food style Quality vegetarian fare and fresh juices.
Signature dishes Burger with a zucchini and chickpea fritter, caramelised onions, beetroot relish and roasted baby tomatoes; fresh seasonal juices and smoothies; bircher muesli for breakfast.
Chef/creator Danya Bilinsky and a roster of chefs.
Mission To connect growers with diners, using seasonal produce from local sources.
Extras Trailer resembles a wooden barn. An information chart maps and explains the origin of each ingredient. All waste is compostable. Vegetable oil and solar panels power the cooking and van.
Prices About $10.
Food style Asian street fare, from steamed half-moon Chinese buns filled with a variety of ingredients (braised pork belly and pickles, roasted duck and lychee, crispy fried chicken, barbecue beef with kimchi, and fried tofu) to chicken/lamb satay skewers, and onigiri (Japanese rice balls).
Signature dishes The Pig, a piece of pork belly roasted, then slow-braised for hours according to an old family recipe, then sandwiched between steamed buns with cucumber pickles.
Chef/creator Ellyn Tse, proprietor and head chef of the catering business Little Nyonya, and volunteer chef for the non-profit organisation, Eat. Drink. Give.
Mission To interpret Asian street food culture for Sydney appetites.
Extras From time to time, customers will be invited to help with the charity. Each dish comes with a paper crane to spread a message of peace.
Bite Size Delights
Food style Traditional Maltese pastry pockets served with about 15 different fillings, and fruit drinks featuring Australian native fruits and berries.
Signature dishes Fillings include spinach and ricotta, salmon and dill, and beef and vegetable curry.
Chef/creator Peter Saad, catering manager for five years.
Mission To offer high quality snacks, baked fresh on site.
Extras Aims to promote community and culture and schedule entertainment where possible.
Prices $3 each
Food style Gourmet spin on traditional Mexican treats.
Signature dishes Chicken taco with corn-and-orange salsa and mayonnaise; vegetarian taco with potato, jalapeno peppers, ricotta, coleslaw and salsa verde; fish taco with coleslaw, poppyseed mayonnaise and lime squeeze; fresh guacamole and corn chips and lime.
Chef/creator Rafael Rashid, Melbourne's food truck pioneer.
Mission To introduce captivating Mexican fare to streets of Sydney.
Extras Fresh salsa roja free with guacamole and corn chips.
Prices Taco, $6; taco plate, $12 with choice of two tacos, a handful of corn chips and lime juice squeeze; guacamole and chips, $5.
Food style Soft tacos freshly cooked to order over mesquite (mangrove charcoal) with homemade salsas.
Signature dishes Carne asada (marinated beef steak); al pastor (spicy marinated pork, spit-roasted with charred pineapple); el turco (spit roasted lamb); vampiro (crisp chargrilled dried tortilla with carne asada, melted Oaxacan queso, salsa roja and garlic crema). The truck will also sell raspados - sweet and spicy fruit flavours frozen into blocks and finely shaved, then topped with fruit syrups, agave syrup and dulce de leche.
Chef/creator Attila Yilmaz - former police officer, catering business owner and ''passionate foodie''.
Mission To introduce uncomplicated and authentic north Mexican street-style tacos to Sydney.
Extras Trailer lowers to ground level and opens out as a pop-up Mexican-style street stall.
Prices $10.50-$12.50/three tacos and traditional trimmings on the side.
Food style Certified organic spelt pizzas and tapas, mini burgers and chocolate spelt brownies.
Signature dishes Gundooee wagyu beef meatball pizza; chocolate spelt brownie.
Chef/creator Simon Lawson, owner and executive chef of Agape, a certified organic restaurant in Botany.
Mission To bring certified organic food that is tasty and nutritious to the streets of Sydney.
Extras For every pizza sold, a meal will be donated to aid organisation Feed the Hungry. Menu will be seasonal and changing.
Prices Pizzas, about $9.
Food style Italian pasta favourites with sauces made to original recipes.
Signature dishes Slow-cooked duck ragu.
Chef/creator Stephane Chevassus a L'Antoine, a self-taught chef and food enthusiast, who trained for six months at Lanzafame Trattoria in Woolloomooloo.
Mission To produce fresh, convenient and quality food, add vibrancy to city life and foster a sense of community.
Extras Pasta cooked to order in front of customers, with gluten-free options. Daily selection of classic French desserts, including macarons, creme caramel, creme brulee and petits pots de creme.
Prices $7 to $11, depending on portion sizes.
Food trucks with council approval
1. Queen's Square, near St James station, Sydney. 5pm-2am Mon-Fri; 7am-2am Sat-Sun. 2. Hyde Park North. 9pm-2am daily. 3. Victoria Park (car park), Camperdown. 7am-2am daily. 4. Victoria Park (City Road), Camperdown. 6pm-2am daily.
Awaiting confirmation or proposed food trucks
1 Belmore Park. 7am-3am daily. 2 Macquarie Place Park, Bridge Street, Sydney. 9pm-3am daily. 3 Customs House forecourt, Circular Quay. 9pm-2am daily. 4 Pitt Street Mall, 9pm-2am daily. 5 Pirrama Park, Pyrmont. 7pm-2am daily. 6 Minogue Reserve, Glebe. 12pm-12am Mon-Fri; 7am-12am Sat-Sun. 7 Bicentennial Park, Glebe, 6am-12am daily. 8 Sydney Park, Alexandria. Two locations: Sydney Park Road car park; Princess Hwy car park. 7am-12am daily.