Margaritas and a bit of laidback Mexican hospitality at West Melbourne's new little taqueria.
Located just a taco's throw from Queen Vic Market, Hello José is serving up beachside Mexican, minus the beach. It's not often you find an establishment that can comfortably blare the best of the 90s while serving the best of Mexico on plastic plates, but Scott Witham and Andrew Wilson have managed to do just this.
You know you're having a good Thursday when you order a Spicy Margarita (made using just a dash of the potent jalapeno pickling juice) only to find that margaritas are $10 during the week, and then 'Emotions' by Mariah Carey comes on. Well done Hello José, you've got me feeling e-mo-tions, alright!
Just when Mariah is almost done rolling out the upper limits of her whistle register, your tacos arrive ($5 each — bargain!) and it's a positively musical experience. With a menu that is still being tested and shaped by the Hello José crew, the current offering is a classic lineup ticking off all the major animals and pulses, including pork, fish, chicken, beef and black beans. The tortillas used on the premises are all hand-pressed daily. And while the tacos are the main event, the menu also includes tostaditas (tasty, two-bite morsels of deliciousness), a quinoa salad and churros for dessert.
The interior is a sensory overload to say the least. At first it feels disarming, but it only takes a cup of house-made horchata to settle into your surrounds and see that Scott and Andrew have taken special care to make this little taqueria feel as authentic as possible. Inspired by a trip to the beachside haven of Tulum, Mexico, the boys decided that Melbourne was in need of a kitschy and unpretentious taqueria that was reminiscent of the Mexican taco huts where coca-cola memorabilia and disco balls are in rich supply.
The walls are adorned with hand painted artwork that adds to the mishmash, yet comfortable appeal of the place. As the warmer months roll in, the guys are planning on expanding outdoors to ensure that everyone can take advantage of their well-stocked tequila cabinet. Until then, Hello José is well worth a visit to bask in the warmth of fairy lights, disco balls and a bit of Mexican-inspired hospitality.
Image credit: Crooked Photography