A cool blend of contemporary & retro culture

Say ‘Hola!’ to Bali’s modern tribute to Mexico… Motel Mexicola

Motel Mexicola 03

There has been a lot of complaints lately from people returning home from Bali. Not about smog from erupting volcanoes or aftershocks from earthquakes, funnily enough. But complaints about the downturn in hospitality in some of “the good old places”.

Potato Head appears to have had its day and was way smelly the last time we visited. La Favela has lines going ’round the ‘block’, peppered with people who’ve only heard about the place this year. W Hotel has nothing really new going for it that we could see. And Ku De Ta… well, enough said.

But why anyone would want to go old-school when visiting Bali these days is surprising since there are so many goddamn brilliant places to witness, experience, and be wrapped in.

There’s street-inspired Japanese restaurant Mad Sparrow for fine a fusion of food and fab conversation space; stylish Italian restaurant-come-discotheque Da Maria for gorgeous people-spotting and decadent cocktails; laidback speakeasy bar Forty Thieves for serious drinkers and fashionistas; and, of course, the venue whose name ought to be on everyone’s lips, Motel Mexicola.

Taking everything you know about Mexican food, drink and culture, and turning it on its head, Motel Mexicola is all about easy dining with traditional flavours, experimental drinking with contemporary challenges, and doing what Latin Americans love doing best: dance, dance, dance.

“Imagine you’ve just popped a bit of Peyote and maybe downed a bit of Mezcal and just stepped into a modern Acapulco hotel where the staff have cut loose as much as the patrons.”

The moment I arrived in this place, it felt like a giant dance club but, oddly, with long tables laid out in the centre. The lighting is magical, the music revved up, the décor bright and colourful. In fact, imagine you’ve just popped a bit of Peyote and maybe downed a bit of Mezcal and just stepped into a modern Acapulco hotel where the staff have cut loose as much as the patrons.

Everybody looks like they’re having fun in this venue, from the gorgeous gals greeting you at the door to the spunky bar staff pouring your shots.

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Speaking of which, you’ve got to try one thing from the Mexicola drinks list: the ‘Ego Cooler’, a delicious elixir of El Jimador Reposado Tequila, coconut liqueur, almond essence, pineapple and basil. Lucy Ricardo would have gone loopy on just two of these! Or, for the more daring, the ‘Pornstar Mojito’ made of Nusa Cana Rum, lime, mint, coconut and a dash of Prosecco.

The food here is not your average Guzman Y Gomez tosh. In fact, the chefs at Motel Mexicola put a bit of a traditional touch to most of their dishes. Try the Antojitos, a melt-in-the-mouth slow-cooked pork, with coriander, sour cream and mayonnaise on iceberg lettuce; or the Rollitos Mariscos boasting blue swimmer crab in a crispy pastry and cream of queso.

As for the tacos and tostidos on the menu, there are so many delicious varieties, you’ll agree the old-school hard-shell ones back home can never compete.

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Motel Mexicola loves to team with a theme. This weekend, on Saturday 15th September, the venue is hosting a Mexican Independence Day Party. There’ll be specifically designed cocktails for the night, many which will be making the most of tequila, we’re sure, and a fabulous fashion parade featuring the latest collection by Perth ex-pat fashion designer Mauricio Alpizar. I had the pleasure of previewing Alpizar’s retro-inspired Summer 2019 collection. Taking its influences from music legends such as Freddie Mercury, Prince, David Bowie and Whitney Houston, let me just say every garment rocks.

If you want good food, excellent music, fun ambience, and fine style, say ‘Hola!’ to Mexicola.  Antonino Tati


Motel Mexicola is situated on Jalan Kayu Jati, Petitenget, Kerobokan Kelod, Bali. For more information visit www.motelmexicola.info.

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