Inside Carlton’s New Late-Night Taqueria And Mezcal Bar

By Matt Carey
16th Oct 2019

A new Mexican bar and eatery has just hit Melbourne in the form of Taquito. Emerging from the heavily Italian-influenced streets of Carlton, Taquito burst onto the scene to establish itself as an authentic producer of Mexican food, with a contemporary twist. From taco Tuesdays to frozen jugs of margarita, Mexican cuisine has a habit of becoming overexposed and cheapened in our great city. Taquito doesn’t just challenge this narrative, it completely flips it. 

Stop by the bar on arrival and then head through the courtyard to the main restaurant area, where the flowing layout and rustic feel of the exposed brick puts a Melbourne spin on authentic Mexican. 

Co-owners Alec Villarreal and Paul Clarke came together intending to fill a gap in the market and bring traditional Mexican Cuisine to Melbourne’s doorstep. By creating food and drinks with quality foundations that would be recognised and appreciated in Mexico, and using fresh locally-sourced ingredients to do so.

The plates are made to share, but some of them you won’t want to. The Chile Relleno is particularly mouth-watering. A large wood-fired chilli stuffed with Oaxacan cheese and paired with chargrilled salsa–and don’t worry this isn’t the burn your throat type of chilli, but if that’s what you’re into, Taquito’s house-made hot sauce will do the job because it packs a punch. 

You won’t find your average tacos on the chef’s selected taco flights either (including a complete vegan flight) but instead, a handful of carefully curated tortillas, stuffed with exciting flavours and a whole lot of love. 

The tortillas are hand-rolled in house daily, and the colourful range of fillings include anything from sweet potato and crispy fish to grilled ox tongue, which is much more appealing than it sounds but definitely won’t be making an appearance on the vegan flight. 

If you’re eager to experience the flavours and feels of Mexico, go for the 6-course ‘feed me’ menu, which will only set you back $50 per person and make your tastebuds love you forever.

If Mexican food isn't your thing, the rotating cocktail offering alone warrants a visit. Tommy Taquito’s Margarita kicks off the hand-picked list, which swaps out tequila for mezcal and blends seasonal stone fruit, agave nectar and Morita chilli for a smokey flavour that is unlikely to appear on the menu at your local Mexican joint. If sweet over smokey is more your thing we couldn’t go past the Hazy Daze–with Tarasco Charanda Rum and flavours of mandarin juice and hibiscus. 

You can catch happy hour from 4 pm - 6 pm, but you won’t find $2 tacos or sombreros waiting for you on your table, go Taquitos if you want a full Mexican culinary experience–without having to leave the city.   

The Details

What: Taquito
Where: 350 Drummond St, Carlton 

Image credit: Jana Longhorst

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