Pancho Villa Tequila Bar

Licensed $-$$   Hat iconHat icon   Glass iconGlass icon
378 Elizabeth Street, North Hobart
03) 6234 4161
Open: Open Lunch Thursday to Sunday 11.30 am – 3pm, dinner daily from 5.30pm. Takeaways.

With dim, moody lighting, Day of the Dead skulls and artwork, ornate designer lamps, black velvet banquettes, black furniture and colourfully patterned stained glass windows, a bar featuring 56 different tequilas and the percussion of cocktail shakers sounding like castanets, the boys behind Burger Haus, Regazzi and Capital have done it again, turning the old ANZ bank in North Hobart into a very stylish American/Mexican bar that is unique to Hobart.

And they’ve nailed that combination of good food and good, fun vibes that have made newer eateries like Frank and Urban Greek such instant, popular hits with Hobart diners. Like Frank, at Pancho Villa, it’s a younger, buzzy, mostly 30-something crowd some of whom are happy to pay $40 for a hit of one of Mexico’s top tequilas.

So we joined them with a margarita followed by a sample tasting of an earthy, mahogany-coloured, four year old, barrel-aged tequilla and a beautifully smooth two-year old mescal before skipping the 16 Aussie and Mexican beers on offer and selecting a delightfully savoury Argentine sangiovese from an interesting and reasonably priced global list.

Then a look at Executive Chef, Darryl Zeiten’s menu which, he says, is the product of lots of research and months of recipe trials in the kitchen before opening. The result is a wide-ranging selection running from flights of authentic, house-made salsas with tortilla chips through different white corn and blue corn tacos and on to mains such as pulled pork tostaditas, achiote pork belly, Mexican cod cakes and frijoles enchiladas, salads and desserts.

We started with two nicely crisp and flavoured pulled pork empanadas with a mild dipping sauce followed by blue corn tacos topped with spicy, soft shell crab with pico de gallo and another with ox tongue, pomegranate mojo, queso fresco and pickled jalapeno.

Then followed seared scallops with a savoury topping of chorizo crumbs, avocado and black garlic sauce and beef cheek braised in black beer and chipotle freshened with avocado and lime puree and salsa cocida.

Rather than putting hairs on your chest, Mexican food in Mexico can singe them off and Zeiten has understandably pulled back on the heat on dishes across the board. But more than just spiciness and chilli heat, Mexican food is made up of a lot of different components and layers of flavours going on at once. The most famous examples of this are their highly complex moles and it’s great that Zeiten makes their own Oaxacan red and black mole and, in addition, that there are a spicy Habanero sauce, a fierier ghost chilli sauce and a volcanic Trinidad scorpion chilli sauce to ramp up the heat for those machos who want it.

All in all, the food and flavours are pleasingly authentic and, combined with the excellence of the cocktails, wines and Mexican beers, tequilas and mescals, the atmosphere and the service, Pancho Villa is a very enjoyable, fun and exciting addition to the North Hobart strip.

Flight of three salsa dips $16; two empanadas $11; tacos $14-$16; mains $16-$26; desserts $14; tequilas $10-$45. Online bookings for four to 12 people available soon at www.panchovilla.com.au

in Recent reviews