One of the newer entrants to the Seminyak nightlife and dining scene, Motel Mexicola is very popular and it’s easy to see why. Firstly, it’s very cool, down to the finest details, with bombastic decor. It was clearly some sort of trashy old nightclub or hotel restaurant that they have turned into a handpainted, muralled Mexico-inspired colour explosion. My cameraphone photos at night were pretty poor and didn’t show it well, but there’s some better photos on other blogs here, here, here. This place is so vibrant, splashed with deliberate hipster quirk and nighttime neon. I really loved the design and decor, but there were some features that also made me roll my eyes a bit as well. For example, on the night we went, there was a shirtless man inside a glass display cabinet in the middle of the restaurant making a surfboard by hand. Seriously. When I finally realised what was going on with that, I wanted to go ‘oh, that’s cool’ but found myself thinking ‘oh, hipsters, too much’. Also it looked like a hot, crowded and uncomfortable environment in which to practice his craft, the nanna in me was concerned about the occupational health and safety issues…
The other people there weren’t 29-year-old nannas. The music was fun and upbeat Latin American–and by the time it was my bedtime (…around 9.30pm) there were already some people having a dance. We were seated at the bar and got great service. I wasn’t drinking (just got a giant iced coconut to sip away at, for hydration and the miracle health benefits of coconut water, right?), but my sister tried some other drinks and they were all very nice. Unusually for bar seats, we weren’t perched on stools, but instead had these fabulous wrought-iron armchairs to sit in, which was great (I have noted that bar stool seating depletes my energy much faster than regular chairs!).
If you aren’t drawn by hipster quirk, Instagram opportunities, dancing and booze, then the real highlight was the food! Every dish we ordered was delicious, we especially loved the empanadas. There’s a great mix of snacky-type food and larger meals, so it works for those wanting a full dinner or just bar nibbles. A great range of tacos too.
All in all, if you are in Seminyak and in need of a bit of a fiesta or a feed, then Motel Mexicola is a good place to check in. Just be prepared for noise, colour, caged artisans and hipsters.