The Jakarta Post
Shades of play: Motel Mexicola's decor is a visual feast of its own, popping with colors and funky designs. (Motel Mexicola/File)
Its full-on Mexican aesthetic catches the eye in a way that makes Motel Mexicola easily stand out within the area’s growing number of food establishments.
When invited to explore and experience the place, the red, yellow, green and blue flags hanging outside are hard not to notice, as is its main entrance — a funky, true Mexicano-styled arched hall leading to a shrine-like table artistically decorated with melted neon wax and various quasi-religious/retro-psychedelic baubles.
Whatever it is, the entrance’s Instagram-ready aesthetic certainly plays a major part in getting people to notice where their trendiest buddies are hanging out.
The shrine leads to a courtyard surrounded by bars on every side. The signature Mexicola Margarita (100 percent blue agave tequila) is said to be particularly beloved here, but tried-and-tested older favorites such as the Pina Colada’s pineapple-infused rum still offer a welcome refreshing kick, or you can go for the many servings of Tequila (Don Julio Blanco, Don Julio Resposado, El Jimador Blanco et al).
Hot spot: Motel Mexicola has grown to become one of Bali's party centers, hosting crowd-filled events regularly.(Motel Mexicola/File)
Whatever the case, the bars offer plenty of variety (and quantity — important on the weekends, where hundreds of people fill the place) for those just wanting to chill with friends and some cold ones.
The décor all over is chic Mexicano, with a fake gravesite and walls covered from end to end with funky Latin-styled curios. Going upstairs, visitors have another Instagram opportunity in front a massive mirror surrounded by curious novelty decor. The upstairs itself is filled with tables arranged for larger groups with plans to enjoy the establishment’s delectable menu.
Chef Steven Skelly (previously from Urchin, also in Bali) mans the kitchen and says that the aim was not to tap into the fast-food Mexicana culinary culture that was beginning to trend in Indonesia.
Instead, Skelly dug deep into Mexican culinary roots, learning about and eventually offering up unique meals for Mexicola’s patrons.
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“I wanted to serve [Mexican] dishes that were authentic, not the usual ones”, said Skelly, which is why, upon his employment at Mexicola, he travelled to the deepest ends of Mexico to find the most unique and original foods.
And what a meal Mexicola offers. Various kinds of quesadillas, tostadas, tacos, aguachile and antojitos (tapas) are available to enjoy.
Completing that sense of authenticity, Mexicola only uses the freshest of ingredients, even importing many of the particular ingredients required to make certain dishes.
For Primeros (starters), hungry patrons can go for Esquites (grilled corn with chipotle mayonnaise), some good ol’ Calameres or Totopos (homemade chorizos, black beans, pico de gallo, salted cheese and corn chips).
Mexican flavor: Unique Mexican dishes are one of Motel Mexicola's best offerings.(Motel Mexicola/File)
You can then go on to the Tostada, which are deep-fried tortillas with a variety of toppings. Some of the best here include De Pollo (chicken tinga, adobo, sesame seeds, and pickled corn) and the Crab Tostada (blue swimmer crab, lime mayo, avocado, adobo dressing and crispy leek).
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The quesadillas are also to die for. Highly recommended is the Verdolagas, which contain blue corn tortilla, melted mozzarella and purslane.
As is the De Pollo, which combines pulled roast chicken with smoked paprika, cumin and melted cheese.
Tasty treat: Motel Mexicola's favorite dishes include some of the best nachos in town.(Motel Mexicola/File)
For mains, Mexicola offers up a mouth-watering assortment of meals. The Carnitas De Patto was our pick, and it blended aromatic braised duck, green chili, white onion and coriander magnificently.
With a great atmosphere — particularly for those looking to really unwind — Motel Mexicola provides a very welcoming atmosphere.
That its food is top notch is icing on the cake.
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