Modern, Mexican and mighty fun, El Publico is a stylish addition to Mt Lawley’s burgeoning barroom ranks

Sombreros. Day of the Dead skulls. A live mariachi band. All typical exponents of Mexican culture you won’t find at this split-level hacienda of good times (light-up neon donkeys, on the other hand, are another matter).

Not surprisingly, mezcal and tequila are El Publico’s Bella Twins with the bar’s 60-something bottle selection covering everything from single village Del Magueys to rare bottles of extra añejo tequila. As tradition demands, sipping spirits are served with a piquant house-made sangrita, El Publico’s version being a sweet ‘n’ spicy combo of pomegranate, citrus, tomato juice and head chef Sam Ward’s fiery hot sauce. It’s as delicious as it sounds and an attraction in itself.

Not quite ready to drop a C-note on a pour of Partida Elegante? There’s just as much enjoyment to be had on the cocktail side of the ledger. House grapefruit soda with Espolon blanco proves the ages-old paloma still has merit while the delicious Jefe Grande combines smoky Ilegal Mezcal with the zip of lemon juice, grapefruit bitters and Lillet Blanc.

Not that tequila only plays well with citrus: a whisper of Fernet Branca lends a distinctly choc-mint character to Uncle Ron’s reposado- and Zacapa-powered Mexican Milkshake.

While El Publico’s full menu is available seven nights for dinner and for weekend lunches, a small selection is available for afternoon and late-night snacking. We dig the crisp-fried school prawns, and the tacos – house-made tortillas cradling thin slices of grilled beef, chilli and peanut.

First published on . Updated on .

By Max Veenhuyzen   |  

El Publico details

511 Beaufort St

Highgate 6003

Telephone 0418 187 708

Open Mon-Fri 5pm-late; Sat 4pm-late; Sun 4pm-10pm

El Publico website

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Readers' comments, reviews, hints and pictures

  • Nadine said: “What a RIP”

    This was most poorest excuse of Mexican food I have ever had. Guacamole was just mashed avocado with about 3 chips - $9. Taco's wich were tiny with a bland piece of chicken and cheese $14. Main was lamb "mole" which tasted like 3 small pieces of lamb mixed with Gravox with no sides for $28. We had to buy mini tortilla's at $1 each. So disappointing. Will never eat here again. Even the staff were struggling at trying to explain the worth of this food. We were told "this is no tex mex Mexican" this is traditional mexican food. Actually you are wrong. This is a typical over priced western excuse of mexican food which is completely inaccurate. Sorry for the bad review but it was abysmal.

    Posted on Fri 20 Jul 2012 21:23:36

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