Voy por la vereda tropical
La noche plena de quietud
Con su perfume de humedad
Se oye el rumor de una cancion de amor y de piedad
Con ella fui noche tras noche hasta el mar
When it comes to dining experiences, Bali has always been a paradise for food enthusiasts, offering a wide array of cuisines from around the world. I recently had the honour to shoot the brand new Motel Mexicola restaurant in Canggu. It is still a vibrant and colourful Mexican restaurant, just like its sister restaurant, Motel Mexicola Seminyak, which is definitely one of the must-visit restaurants in Bali. It is brand new, but it has already been creating quite a buzz in the area. The main difference is Motel Mexicola Canggu is right by the famous Batu Bolong beach. From the moment I stepped through the doors of this charming establishment, I knew I was in for a memorable experience.
Motel Mexicola’s exterior is an incredible riot of colours, instantly transporting you to the streets of Mexico. The brightly painted façade and the vintage signboard beckon you with promises of fiesta and fun. As I walked inside, I was greeted by the lively beats of Mexican music and the infectious energy of the staff. The interior of Motel Mexicola is a visual feast, with every inch adorned with Mexican-themed decor. It felt like I had stepped into a Mexican hacienda, complete with ceramic tiles, vibrant textiles, and flickering candles.
I was very lucky because the architect, Carlos, was there. Carlos and Nicolaza, the owner of Mexicola, have maintained a friendship spanning over two decades. It’s quite evident that this project is a labour of love from that friendship. During our conversation, Carlos shared with me his vision for the restaurant, which revolves around encapsulating the essence of three significant eras in Mexican history: the Aztec-Mayan era, the pre-colonial period with its distinctive arches, and the glamorous beach culture of Mexico during the 1960s and 1970s. Each of these elements is thoughtfully represented throughout the restaurant’s design.
You’ll notice the colourful Mayan calendar symbol strategically placed above the bar, rendered in vibrant red and yellow hues. The arches, windows and wall are adorned with multicoloured tiles, as well as the uniquely shaped dining chairs, which create the perfect ambiance for a Mexican-themed restaurant. All the paintings on the wall are hand painted by a talented Australian painter, Brent Smith, who also worked his magic at Motel Mexicola Seminyak. They even have a chiminea, a Mexican fire pit built from clay, which I have never seen in any restaurant in Bali! The bathrooms are a nice surprise. Its main feature is the LED light that wraps around the long mirror, creating a futuristic look, which reminds me of one of my favourite series, Euphoria.
Let’s not forget one of the distinctive features of the Motel Mexicola brand, which is the ofrenda. At Motel Mexicola Canggu, you’ll find two ofrendas, one located in the dining area and another in the bathroom. Both are equally impressive and filled with radiant energy. Staying true to its Mexican heritage, there’s a beautiful picture of the Lady of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico. It’s these small but meaningful touches that truly infuse the entire space with such an authentic ambiance. The seating options at Motel Mexicola cater to different moods and group sizes. Whether you prefer a cosy corner booth for an intimate dinner or a communal table for a fiesta with friends, they have it all. I particularly loved the outdoor seating area, which had a charming courtyard with a fruteria, it feels like you are on the beach somewhere in Mexico.
Motel Mexicola takes its culinary offerings seriously, and it shows in every dish they serve. The menu boasts a wide variety of Mexican classics, from tacos and enchiladas to ceviche and guacamole. The options were diverse, including everything from classic carne asada to vegetarian-friendly options. I opted for a combination of tacos, including the Baja fish tacos and the Beef cheek, bone marrow salsa, salsa borracha. The tacos were a revelation – the fish was perfectly fried, and the slaw added a refreshing crunch, while the beef cheek had just the right amount of spice and a burst of flavours. To accompany my meal, I enjoyed a classic margarita, which was expertly mixed and served in a salt-rimmed glass. It was the perfect balance of sweet, sour, and tequila kick, making it an ideal companion to the spicy and savoury Mexican dishes.
“Life’s a party, let’s make it worth celebrating every day”
One of the standout aspects of my experience at Motel Mexicola was the exceptional service. The staff were not only attentive and friendly but also incredibly knowledgeable about the menu. They were more than happy to offer recommendations and explain the dishes to us. This level of service made our dining experience all the more enjoyable.The attention to detail was evident in every aspect of the service, from the timely delivery of dishes to the refilling of our water glasses without us having to ask. It’s the little things that set Motel Mexicola apart in terms of service excellence.
Motel Mexicola isn’t only a restaurant; it’s even more well-known as a nightlife hotspot. As the evening progressed, the restaurant transformed into a lively party venue. The music got louder, and the energy level went up several notches. It was evident that this was the place to be for those looking to dance the night away and soak up the vibrant atmosphere. If you’re in the mood for a lively night out, Motel Mexicola won’t disappoint.
In the end, my visit to Motel Mexicola in Canggu was an unforgettable culinary journey through the flavours of Mexico. From the moment I stepped in and was greeted with warm smiles and colourful decor, to the last bite of my delicious tacos, every aspect of the experience was top-notch. The ambiance, the food, the service, and the overall vibe of the restaurant came together to create an exceptional dining experience.
Motel Mexicola is not just a restaurant; it’s a destination. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or just looking for a fun night out with friends, this restaurant offers it all. The vibrant Mexican spirit and the dedication of the staff make it a must-visit spot for anyone in Canggu craving authentic Mexican cuisine and a good time.
I left Motel Mexicola with a satisfied palate, a happy heart, and a craving to return for more. If you find yourself in Canggu, make sure to make a reservation at this Mexican gem and prepare yourself for a memorable dining adventure. Motel Mexicola exceeded my expectations and left me with a taste of Mexico that I’ll cherish for a long time to come.
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