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Mexicola Locale, Cheyne Morrisby’s Mexican joint in Hout Bay

Compact menu of tacos, nachos and bochas, all cooked over flames and coals

There’s Tex-Mex, there’s Mexican food, and then there’s Mexicola Locale. This is Cheyne Morrisby’s new Mexican eatery in Hout Bay and it offers the best nachos, tacos and bachos (bowls) in town – all cooked fresh over flames or coals.

MEXICOLA LOCALE IS THE UPGRADE FOR HOUT BAY’S ICONIC DEEZ

Two blocks off the main road in Hout Bay, you’ll see a blue semi-detached building that’s hard to miss. For decades, locals came to what was then known as Deez for late night munchies and too much tequila. The food at Deez – apparently all cooked in big batches once a week and heated up for service – was not the attraction. Nobody minded, because Deez had a great vibe. 

When Cheyne Morrisby took the venue over, the kitchen equipment comprised three microwave ovens and a deep fryer. Cheyne invested in a fireplace instead, and now it’s called Mexicola Locale. The atmosphere in this tiny converted house is still intimate and lively, but the food has been elevated to a main attraction.

THIS MEXICAN FOOD TASTES DELICIOUSLY SMOKEY

Mexicola Locale’s tiny kitchen is where all the food is prepared – fresh – over coals or flames, and the meals are infused with a smokiness you just don’t get with any other method of cooking. Tackling the dishes from Mexico is new territory for the chef patron, and he’s approached it with his usual flair. 

Morrisby’s first restaurant, Cheyne’s, which is also in Hout Bay, has set the tone for all the others that have followed: Asian/Pacific Rim-fusion food that’s always exciting, creative and unique. In Mexicola Locale’s case, it made sense to stick with Mexican cuisine because everyone had come to know Deez’s food so well. A separate dining room has been preserved as a nod to Deez, with its peeling paint and kitsch decor.

YOU’LL HAVE AN EATING ADVENTURE AT MEXICOLA LOCALE

The menu at Mexicola Locale is as compact as the dining space: three snacks, four taco dishes, two nachos and five bochas (or bowls) precede two desserts, all distinctive dishes. 

The drinks list is longer with a tight selection of wines in all the colours, bubbly, and a brilliant range of local and imported tequilas. These are quality and meant to be sipped and savoured in the manner of whisky, rather than shooting them like a reckless teenager.

TRY THE BREAKING BAD MARGARITAS

There’s a good reason why margaritas go so well with Mexican food; the sweetness and saltiness are perfect foils for hot and spicy. Cleverly named, the Walter White is the classic with a double shot of Cabrito tequila, Triple Sec and lime juice, shaken or frozen. Its companion is Jesse Pinkman, the same but with raspberry. 

Another excellent drink to complement your meal is beer (on tap) and if you’re wary of the chargrilled Jalapeño peppers with cream cheese emulsion and smoked buttered bread crumbs, served with actual smoke curling up from it, you can request a glass of milk to soothe the burn.

 

ORDER THE SOFT TACOS AND NACHOS 

Soft tacos come with coal-roasted pork shoulder, fire-cooked beef belly, crispy local fish, or fire-roasted vegetables. The nachos are brilliant – meat or beans – and served in a piping-hot deep dish filled to the brim with melted cheese. None of this stingy platter nonsense where only the top layer of chips is worth eating.

 

BE BOWLED OVER BY THE BOCHAS

In the bochas section, you’ll find corn on the cob with chipotle butter, burnt iceberg lettuce with chilli-and-lime dressing, the jalapeños, grilled chicken in mole sauce, and tuna céviche (the only thing NOT made over the fire).

Save space for dessert, because there’s churro waffles with chocolate sauce and horchata ice cream, and charcoal-grilled corn cake with burnt orange and mescal syrup and sugared lime cream cheese.

Mexicola Locale, at  4 The Promenade Road, Hout Bay, is open Tuesdays to Sundays 12pm till 10pm (bar closes at 11pm). Find them on Facebook, call on 066 412 3289 or email cheynesrestaurant@gmail.com. The dishes cost between R60-R85.

By Bianca Coleman

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Love Mexican food? Check out El Burro Taqueria

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