Get a lesson in mezcal at new Snickel Lane bar La Fuente

by Jean Teng / 14 November, 2018
ArticleGalleryModule - La Fuente

Edmundo Farrera's La Fuente pop-up is now a permanent bar and shop, specialising in mezcal, in central Auckland.

Edmundo Farrera is pouring 26 years of hospo experience into his new bar La Fuente, a permanent version of last year’s pop-up on Galway Street. It’s a mezcal bar first and foremost, but the high-ceilinged, wood-clad space will serve and sell wine, and have shelves of take-home mezcal too. A menu of Mexican-inspired dishes will make it a place for eating, as well as drinking.

Located in downtown’s Snickel Lane dining precinct, La Fuente is a home for Farrera’s true passion. His love for mezcal began with his first sip at just 7-years-old while running errands in his hometown near Oaxaca, Mexico. This small, landlocked city – where most of the world’s mezcal comes from – is the place Farrera travels to source a breadth of different styles. There’s also a comprehensive wine list overseen by sommelier Meg Abbott-Walker.

Once regarded as a tipple for the lower-class, mezcal has increased in popularity, with retailers now scrambling for bottles from batches distilled by its maestros.  Although made from agave like tequila, mezcal has a distinct rustic smokiness. Farrera likens the agave roasting process to a hāngi – it’s cooked for three days with volcanic rocks in a covered pit oven. The stone is scrubbed down cleanly to avoid the end product being tainted while cooking. “Purity is important,” says Farrera.

Read more: Morningside's new food precinct, tiki bars, and more new Auckland openings

Edmundo Farrera

La Fuente owner Edmundo Farrera pours a flight of mezcales. Photo/Izak Van Der Merwe.

La Fuente’s offerings are separated into categories: entry level, artisan, ancestral and the very special batches. If you’re a mezcal newbie, there are two types of in-house tastings available – a flight of three 20ml pours, or the full mezcal experience with six 10ml samples.  It could include the Alipus Olla de Barro, an ancestral spirit distilled in a claypot, or maybe the Amores Joven, made from agave espadin and lightly sweet with mango and cinnamon notes. Mezcal is traditionally drunk with Mexican tasting salts like ground-up grasshopper, herbs and chillies, but Farrera’s accompaniments are also set to include ice cream and even coffee (for a particularly potent wake-up call).

The food menu has been created by ex-Ostro and Rosebank Kitchen chef Johannes Carroux – think guacamole, mezcal-cured salmon tostaditas and a ceviche he hopes will be “the best in the country”. Each day, there will be specials so the food will be ever-changing, giving Carroux creative space to test new dishes.

La Fuente translates to ‘the source’, a point of identity for Farrera, who hopes the bar will be people’s go-to for all things mezcal. Farrera is near-obsessed with the spirit, but stresses what he loves most is people – take care of the staff, listen to your guests, and ultimately, he says, make it human.

La Fuente opens today, 14 November.

Shop 9, Snickel Lane
23 Customs Street
Central City

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