18.04.2019

Benzina Cantina fashions a concoction of Melbourne-meets-Mexico in both taste and feel

The Mexican-inspired bar and restaurant is quickly rising above the pack.

Tequila y tacos is alliteration you can find us rallying behind, maracas and all. A vault of industrial Mexico is amplifying Preston’s burgeoning guac ‘n’ roll scene under the moniker of Benzina Cantina. Head honcho at the Brunswick taqueria Los Hermanos and daredevil motorcycle stuntman ‘Lukey Luke’ Follacchio embarked on Benzina as a duo, and the matrimony between soft leather and crunchy tortillas has proven effortless ever since.

Think an arrestingly grungy atmosphere, underpinned by matte-black repurposed shipping containers, flung lightbulb garlands, chalk-boards swathed in evocative Day-of-the-Dead-like artistry and spectacularly moody lighting. Consider the foreboding, skeletal illustrations a premonition of you the morning after guzzling Benzina’s tequila list. You’ve been warned.

A boisterous reflection of this Melbourne-meets-Mexico hybrid, the Mexpresso Martini is a compulsory order. Expect a potent swirl of Herradura Reposado, Kahlua, cold drip coffee, agave, chilli and burnt orange. Or, if you’ve clambered up to the rooftop in pursuit of sessionable sips for an afternoon fiesta, you’re best off cradling a watermelon margarita juiced up with Mezcal, lemon juice, agave & watermelon. Essentially, come thirsty.

If you won’t be joining the fleet of Melburnians deporting themselves to warmer, Latin-American horizons as we face winter’s wrath, this quintessentially Mexican menu will be here to thaw out your wanderlust woes. Board your culinary flight with an almighty starters menu. The obvious choices are gorditas – hand-made corn flour pockets stuffed with refried beans, ricotta, Oaxaca cheese and mozzarella, or classic totopos corn chips with a gargantuan side of guac. But if you’re really wanting the immersive Mexican experience, brave the ensalada de nopales – that’s cactus salad, marinated in lime juice and topped with fresh tomato, grilled onion topped with feta cheese and coriander. The main spreads are then split into one page dedicated to tacos (!!), and the other boasting vegeratianos veggie options.

Dessert sees only one offering, because what else could possibly conquer your stomach-rumbling cravings for churros. This duo of fluffy, Mexican slabs of gold is dusted in cinnamon sugar and comes replete with a bath of warm dark chocolate chilli dipping sauce. And no, we will not be judging you for ordering seconds or contemplating thirds. 

 
 
 
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A post shared by Benzina Cantina (@benzina_cantina) on Apr 12, 2019 at 10:43pm PDT