There are some things Melbourne will never get sick of, including overpriced homewares, sport and Jane Bunn’s relentlessly sunny demeanour. Tacos are also on that list. There seems to be no upper limit for the amount of tacos Melbourne is happy to consume in any given week. The city has taken Mexican cuisine to its fluttering heart in the same way it did Italian espresso and Greek fish and chip shops.
Tacocat is the latest manifestation of that obsession. A palindromic taquerias that’s popped up on High St in Windsor, full of salsa and swagger.
Owner Craig Dick worked in the IT industry for over 20 years, which is about as far from a bustling Mexican bar as it’s possible to get. Tacocat was inspired by his love of Mexican food, and his travels south of the border.
The cantina-style fit-out is Windsor all over: Día de Muertos artwork on the walls, bar stools and neon green cactus lights, warm lighting and industrial timber furniture. The kind of place you could swing by for a post-work Elotes (char-grilled corn on the cob, drizzled in chipotle mayo and feather-white queso) or a cheeky blue agave tequila. Fiesta with a capital F.
The menu is loaded with big, bold Mexican flavours, with a couple of Japanese Easter eggs lurking here and there (think fried chicken with nori, guacamole, coleslaw and wasabi mayo). Personally, we’re eyeing off the Nachos Con Carne: beef, pork, guac, queso, picco de gallo and sour cream, the sort of dish that causes food envy wherever it goes. The tacos are all served on house-made tortillas, ground from nothing but corn and a little sea salt. If you’re brave, give the Grasshopper a try— crispy hoppers, roasted with chili and garlic, guacamole, salsa verde, and pico de gallo.
Oh yeah, one more thing. Tacocat is serving up deep-fried tequila (!!). A crispy cube of deep-fried, tequila-soaked sponge cake, served in a lime-fringed glass with a side of tongue-curdling lemon sorbet. One of the desserts of the year.
Image credit: Griffin Simm