After fantastic meals from the team behind Cantina 663 and Ace Pizza I was keen to try their el PUBLICO Mexican joint. I knew it wouldn’t be typical of old-school Mexican restaurants and I’d be in for a real food treat. Located along the popular Beaufort St strip, this super hip bar and restaurant is dishing out modern Mexican street food each night to hungry patrons.
The menu is designed to be shared and I’m glad I’m dining with Mara as we’ve done the shared meal thing several times before and we’ve got it down pat now. We’re both pretty hungry and decide to order lots of things that interest us and take it from there. Whilst we’re waiting our drinks arrive, a wine for me and Mara’s gone all out with an Angel Sour Cocktail $18.50 which she really enjoyed.
First to arrive is the Guacamole $9 with lots of crispy tortilla chips. The guacamole is fresh and chunky and we’re happily scooping it up with the chips.
Torta Ahogada $10 is a crispy pork roll with spicy tomato sauce. The chunks of tender pork melted in your mouth whilst the dense roll was crispy. I found the sauce spicy, which doesn’t say much as I can’t handle really spicy food but Mara assured me it was ok.
The Beef Mogo Mogo’s $16 were our favourite choice of the night. Fried balls of tender spicy beef with a crispy shell from the banana batter all served with a spicy chipotle sauce. I’m still salivating at the memory of these balls. Searching for the recipe online I found a Gourmet Traveller magazine article where Sam Ward (Head Chef at el PUBLICO), shared his recipe (click here to view it).
The only menu item our waitress didn’t recommended for sharing were the tacos. The Adobo Chicken Taco $14 is served with pickled onion peanut salsa on a soft taco. The adobo marinade of the mild guagillo and ancho chilli’s provided crispness and mild spice to the chicken. The peanut salsa was rich and strong in flavour whilst the pickled onion flavour complemented well.
The Lamb Belly Taco $14 with Aunty G’s sauce of pickled onions and chilli also on a soft shell was a hit. The lamb was tender and mild whilst the onions packed a punch of flavour.
Having never eaten green chorizo before we ordered the Garnacha Green Chorizo Queso Onion $24. Garnacha is simply a large oval-shaped tortilla which was topped with minced-like green chorizo, cheese and onion. It was a rather large serve and quite filling.
We couldn’t resist trying a dessert and although we were keen to try one that was served in a glass jar we felt it could be too difficult to share, so opted for the Chocolate Brownies with Orange Sauce $12. Four slabs of truly decadent chocolate brownie sitting through a swirl of tangy orange sauce was a great way to end our meal.
el PUBLICO is open for dinner 7 nights a week but they only take reservations for groups of 6 or more. If you’re keen to get on board the latest Mexican trend and experience a new range of flavours then I’d certainly recommend a visit.
511 Beaufort St
0418 187 708