Grinning behind his Carnivale-style mask, pictures of Bildo Saravia irreverently smile down on you as you eat and drink at Mr Moustache in Bondi.
Hiding because he knows that he has the key to the elusive, authentic Mexican experience, and smiling because he wants to expose it to you.
Keep your eyes open when you enter this delicious slice of Mexican history. Bildo and his wife, Regina Bueno Ross, have created their restaurant – from food, alcohol and décor – in a style symbolic of their home country.
Mr. Moustache is Mexico, but not as you know it. Regina and Bildo have reproduced the real deal in their Mexico City-meets-Paris style interior. Stark contrasts which are omnipresent throughout Mexican culture – from rich and poor, havoc and harmony, beauty and the grotesque – are depicted in this divided space.
The dining section represents the true cantina experience, where street food and indigenous locals remain passionate about food traditions. The bar, on the other hand, is sophisticated and representative of today’s prosperous Mexico, with its booming economy, shared only by a wealthy minority. This side of the restaurant is an ode to the turn-of-the-century dictator-turned oppressor, Porfirio Diaz, who spent outrageous amounts on opulent replicas of French culture.
Of course the food is authentic, street-style Mexican. Classic, ‘puesto’-inspired food is given a contemporary touch, in dishes such as tortita ahogada (a mini braised pork sandwich with hot chilli sauce), and the tostaditas and tacos are bursting with flavour.
Tortillas and queso fresco are freshly made by a Mexican lady living in Sydney, and the team uses sustainably-caught local seafood, and buys vegetables fresh from Flemington.
The bar’s focus is mezcal, imported directly from Mexico. Regina said, “We are the first mezcal-focused bar in Australia and have the biggest range of mezcal in the country.” Award-winning cocktail specialist Mike Tomasic, who has represented Australia at his chosen art, uses his 15 years’ bartending experience to ensure that the cocktail list also features the Mexican spirit, creating a stunning variety of classic cocktails with unique mezcal-inspired twists.
Mr. Moustache can keep on smiling. The couple’s success has been in their interpretation of the spirit of Mexico which is now taking them further afield to open another restaurant in the United States.
Regina said that after seeing some bogus interpretations of their homeland, the couple wanted to share with the world the Mexico that they know and love. She said, “This is translated for you through our love of chaos, laughter, food, drink, Mezcal and new friendships that come from unexpected acquaintances.”