Taco time! El Planta launches a meatless Mexican takeaway service
It’s hard to believe it was less than eight weeks ago that we revealed that beloved plant-based pop-up El Planta was moving to permanent digs. That being said, the pandemic lockdown does seem to be wreaking havoc with our perception of time. Not to be put off their timeline in bringing their style of delicious plant-based Mexican cuisine to the masses, Rick Gibson and Adrienne Jory have forged ahead, last week debuting its takeaway and delivery concept El Planta At Home.
In a perfect world, El Planta would have opened just after Easter. That was the plan, but, as one can probably surmise, the current nation-wide lockdown forced El Planta owners Rick and Adrienne to alter their plans. Fortunately for the pair, the planning required for the transition from Wandering Cooks pop-up (which ran its last service just as restrictions were tightening) to bricks-and-mortar eatery meant that they were well situated to weather an extended bumpy patch. Although they couldn’t have guessed that their intended opening would be delayed by a global pandemic, the two have taken the lockdown in stride. Electing to see how other businesses reacted to the restrictions, Adrienne and Rick bided their time by focusing on the renovations of their Hope Street space, all the while keeping one eye on the scene’s rapid pivot towards delivery and takeaway service. Inspired by what they saw taking place around them and interstate (particularly at Shane Delia’s Melbourne restaurant Maha’s to-go spin-off), Rick and Adrienne decided they could establish their own take-home offering that would be available on Friday nights. Soon they had assembled a menu of small plates, mains and desserts designed to travel well for El Planta At Home’s debut menu, opening up pre-orders ahead of the inaugural trading night, which was set for Friday April 24.
Even the best-laid plans can go awry and in true opening-day fashion Rick and Adrienne were tested early. El Planta’s burner (the thing needed to cook the 600 tortillas for the avalanche of pre-orders) didn’t arrive on time, meaning the team had to scramble to secure a kitchen where they could cook. Thankfully, the team at Maeve Wine offered up their kitchen for prep, allowing Rick, Adrienne and their crew to fulfil all 65 orders placed for that night. Once the dust had settled from the first night, Rick and Adrienne took stock. Pleased with the response and pleasantly surprised at their ability to minimise wastage, the two are getting ready for round two this week. Every Monday moving forward, Rick and Adrienne will announce that week’s menu, taking orders from then until 6:00 pm Thursday. Currently, El Planta At Home’s menu includes essential items such as guacamole and corn chips, twice-cooked spiced black beans and coriander and lime rice. El Planta’s ready-to-make taco kits come with everything you need (housemade tortillas, proteins, salsas and toppers) to make eight tacos, with two proteins (rotated weekly) included. This week, it’s El Planta’s signature tacos de al pastor and its roasted-cauliflower taco, but if you want more, go the extra mile and order a serve of carne guisada con papas (potato and mushroom ‘beef’ stew) or roasted spiced-pumpkin wedges with pepitas and ancho mole (both options also come with tortillas). Rounding out this week’s menu is a DIY nacho kit (featuring tortilla chips, queso sauce, frijoles, guacamole, pico de gallo, smoked paprika, radish and coriander) and Mexican rice pudding for dessert. If you’re keen to sample, check out the menu and place an order through El Planta At Home’s website. Delivery is also available for those living within a ten-km radius!
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