Tequila is a drink that so many of us associate with regret. But at Windsor spot Chacho’s, tequila sits front and centre. Owner Dan Xerri has reworked the old site of Resto Bobo, his eatery dedicated to tarte flambée (a woodfired flatbread of German-Alsatian origins), into an appealingly low-key space where drinks are the big attraction.
The tequila-heavy cocktail list is all about clean flavours. The Silk and Smoke is complex but fresh, with smoke-infused grapefruit mezcal, lime and house-made basil agave. The Espresso Mariachi mixes Patron XO Cafe with vanilla and mint, and there’s a cracking blood orange take on a classic Margarita. A short beer list includes both local and Mexican brews (Tecate, Pacifico Clara, Dos Equis Ambar).
Bar manager Ben Street has put together a tequila flight, to walk drinkers through what he reckons is the best of the three classic expressions of the spirit right now. Street’s añejo (aged) pick is Don Julio 1942, its oak-ageing lending it a near-buttery flavour.Flights are served with glasses of house-made pineapple or tomato sangrita (a small, intensely spicy palate cleanser). Chef Dan Pegg heads up the kitchen, doling out dishes from a pizza-centric menu that sits somewhere between Mexico and Italy.
Those pizzas include pork-and-fennel sausage, caramelised onion and ricotta topped with chicharron (pork rinds); or the Del Toro, which is San Marzano tomatoes, roasted onions, chorizo, corn, jalapeños, guacamole, sour cream and corn chips. A little more adventurous is a parmigiana-inspired pizza, with chicken schnitzel, ham, mozzarella and basil; or the Vegemite pizza with garlic oil, mozzarella and parsley. A couple of salads and some snacks round out the menu, which is available until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
The space has the feel of a lived-in local haunt, its long narrow room decked out with muted-green banquettes and trailing plants, but sit at the deco-style bar to give your full attention to the serious booze options available.