La Fuente's fit-out is by CTRL_Space (who also designed Grey Lynn's Kо̄kako cafe). Photo/Izak Van Der Merwe
Get a lesson in mezcal at new Snickel Lane bar La Fuenteby Jean Teng
The ceviche – cured with mezcal, of course. Photo/Anna Kidman.
La Fuente also serves as a shop, to take home a selection of mezcal and wine. Photo/Izak Van Der Merwe
Left, owner Edmundo Farrera stocks the shelves. Right, the salmon tostaditas. Photos/Anna Kidman.
Farrera outside La Fuente, which originally started as a pop-up on Galway St last year. Photo/Izak Van Der Merwe
From left, chef Johannes Carroux, sommelier Meg Abbott-Walker and Farrera. Photo/Anna Kidman
Edmundo Farrera's La Fuente pop-up is now a permanent bar and shop, specialising in mezcal, in central Auckland.
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.
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
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