Hello José is your new favourite place to get tacos and tequila, guaranteed.
Owners and housemates, Scott Witham and Andrew Wilson, opened the small taqueria bar as a labour of love in April 2015. There is more fun than labour going on though, that’s for sure. The inspiration for Hello José came from the friends’ shared love of cooking, food and travel. Scott quit his job to travel to Mexico while Andrew stayed in Melbourne to experiment with and perfect his hand-pressed corn tortillas. Mexican cuisine quickly became a favourite for both Scott and Andrew and in turn instigated the development of their business.
Their vision was to create a cosy, intimate environment filled with laughter, vibrant conversation and the sounds of classic tracks pumping in the background. With Andrew heading up the kitchen and Scott taking charge out front, they have managed to do just that, while serving deliciously simple street-style Mexican food.
To ensure the flavours shine through, all fresh produce is sourced from Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market, which is just a short jaywalk away. And to ensure its authenticity all specialised Mexican products are imported from, well, Mexico.
The menu is small, concise and mindfully thought out. We’re not kidding when we say that you’ll probably end up ordering, “everything on the menu, please”. The char-grilled corn on the cob is served with spiced up cream, Parmesan, sumac and lime. The tacos feature Andrew’s homemade soft corn tortillas, which are made fresh daily. Every taco comes filled with colourful pickled cabbage and your pick of filling: pork belly, fish, black bean, chicken or beef. Add a green or red salsa and you’re good to go. Leave room for the churros because these fried and sugary cinnamon sticks come with your choice of plain or chilli-chocolate dipping sauce.
Tequila is the focus of the drinks menu with a range of brands chosen to highlight the varietal differences between the highlands and lowlands. You can work your way through the Blanco, Resposado and Añejo from each. Additionally, Hello José offers three classic cocktails: margaritas (frozen, salted, shaken), espresso martinis (because Kahlua is from Mexico) and a vintage style tequila sunrise. The Mexican and Australian beers on offer are all well priced, and you can opt to add in the Michelada – salty, spicy stuff that Mexicans put in their beer.
To match its chill atmosphere, Hello José never takes itself too seriously. The art found throughout Hello José is a unique expression of Mexican Culture – these whacky graphics inspired by graffiti, signage and artwork are found throughout Mexico. The super cool typography that fills both the interior and exterior has been hand drawn to create a unique space unlike any other Mexican place in Melbourne.
Hello Jose is your go-to for seriously tasty Mexican street food, expert tequila and a good time.