Welcome to Hotel Nacional. The new Hardware Lane venue inspired by the south of Mexico opens to the public tonight.

The restaurant and rooftop bar has taken over Campari House. The five-storey venue currently features a restaurant and rooftop bar, and a second-floor late-night bar with a 3am liquor licence is due to open towards the end of the year.

The entirely gluten-free venue is the third of its kind for owner Alex Greco, who is also behind gluten-free Latin restaurants and bars, Repeat Offender and Rufio.

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Head chef Sergio Tourn (ex-Tino) oversees the menus at both the restaurant and bar. The food is “definitely modern Mexican, it's not traditional in any way”, managing director Taylor Granchi tells Broadsheet. “It’s using European cooking techniques with Mexican flavours.”

The restaurant menu is divided into smaller snacks and large plates, tacos and tostadas (a dish served on a fried corn tortilla). Snacks include corn ribs with Tajin seasoning, and house-made chorizo served with salsa tatemada (roasted red salsa) and corn chips. There are birria tacos, tostadas topped with prawn and mezcal salsa, and chicken served with red mole. For something sweet, there’s a dulce de leche flan with toasted coconut, and a corn husk meringue with corn-infused cream and persimmon.

In addition to being entirely gluten-free, half the menu is vegan and there are a number of dairy-free dishes on offer. The restaurant also offers express lunch burrito bowls available Monday to Friday from midday to 3pm to cater to city lunch-goers.

The bar area has a separate kitchen space from the restaurant and a small menu that includes tostadas not found in the restaurant and plates designed to share, including chips and guac, and nachos.

The drinks list across the entire Hotel Nacional is Mexican-influenced and, in addition to local and European wines, has a significant selection of mezcals including Don Amado, plus tequilas, sotols and other Mexican spirits. Local draught beers are served alongside bottles of Mexican brews Dos Equis, Corona and Negra Modelo dark lager. The cocktail list has 10 Margaritas with variations including spicy, smoky, frozen and coconut.

Campari House’s dark wood finishes and cherry red awning have been updated with a beachy colour palette that opens up the space. The walls have a sand-textured finish and are paired with dark burnt-orange tiles on the floor in the restaurant space and beige crazy pavers in the bar.

Hotel Nacional
23-25 Hardware Lane, Melbourne

Hours:
Daily midday–midnight

hotelnacional.co