Did you know that Australia’s largest collection of agave spirits calls Darwin home? At Hot Tamale to be exact, the thriving Mexican cocktail bar and restaurant right on Darwin’s waterfront that ensures every night is a fiesta.
Hot Tamale is the brainchild of Kellie and David Robinson who, following a trip to South America and Mexico, saw a gap in Darwin’s culinary market. Inspired by their time eating their way around South America and Mexico, and experiencing different types of tequila in the most authentic ways possible, they decided to translate their experience into an Australian setting. It was far from their first foray into hospitality – Kelly worked in marketing and David in people management for a large alcoholic beverage company, and the two opened a cafe together in 2009. By 2012, Kellie and David had enlisted the help of Executive Chef, Martin Bouchier, and Head Chef, Luke Hammond, and thrown open Hot Tamale’s doors, much to the delight of Darwin locals.
It only takes one step inside the restaurant and bar to realise that Tequila is the real star of the show. Once you get past the quirky furnishings, bright colours and eclectic Día de Muertos artworks, you will notice that the bar is decorated with a huge collection of hand-blown tequila bottles. Beyond the bar lies the fabulous alfresco dining area looking out over Darwin’s waterfront. It has all the makings of a funky, yet chilled out spot to grab a bite to eat or settle in for a few well-deserved cocktails.
When it comes to choosing cocktails, the enormous menu begs the question – where to start? The Hot Tamale Margarita seems the obvious choice. Taking the best bits of a classic margarita and the more contemporary Tommy Margarita, it adds a touch of smokiness and spiciness with a splash of rum to turn up the heat. Cocktails aside, the menu is accompanied by an Agave Bible, put together by David to educate tequila novices about the history and facts of this versatile spirit. Detailing each of the 300 labels on offer, you will walk out far more knowledgeable, and undoubtedly merrier than you came in.
Half the fun of visiting Hot Tamale is working your way through their deliciously fresh, Mexican inspired bites. The menu is subject to seasonal availability, so you can be assured that those Slow Braised Beef Croquetas and Platters Of Coconut Prawn Ceviche are as fresh as they come. Staples like traditional guacamole, ancient grain bowls, enchiladas and quesadillas grace the menu year-round.
Every bit the fun cantina that has put Mexican eating on the map, Hot Tamale is the full package – great food, an energetic atmosphere and an impressive selection of booze that you won’t find anywhere else in Australia. You’ll find it smack bang on the waterfront, so you’re in the best seat in the house to kick back and enjoy all that Darwin has to offer.