After a holiday to Mexico, housemates Scott Witham and Andrew Wilson have brought Tulum beach back home to Melbourne.

The taqueria and bar is in part a tribute to José, a local beach bar owner Witham met in Tulum. “He took me out to all the local taco huts down the backstreets where I tasted homebrew mezcal and tequila,” says Witham. “José is also an experienced scuba diver, so we did a lot of that, too.”

The “tacky disco” décor at Hello José is reminiscent of the seaside bars they frequented. “They’re just obsessed with Coca Cola,” says Witham, pointing to the Coca-Cola-inspired art on the wall behind him. “The guys at Can I Play creative studio really understood this concept. They rocked up with a rickety old ladder, a few beers and did all the art free hand – it’s better than we imagined,” says Wilson.

With a simple but fine-tuned menu, Hello José serves five different taco fillings. The pork-belly taco is the current favourite. The corn tortillas are all hand-pressed fresh each day by Wilson who’s had years of experience perfecting the art at home.

There are 12 tequilas to try, with a tasting guide on the back of the menu. For those still mentally recovering from past tequila mishaps, there are two fresh and fruity chasers to soften the blow. There’s also a chilli-chocolate churro for dessert.

Throw in some classic ’90s tracks, and you’ve really got yourself an after-work fiesta. Hello José will expand its outdoor space in the warmer months.

Hello José
85 Peel Street, West Melbourne
(03) 9326 3934

Wed & Thu 5pm–late
Fri & Sat 4pm–11pm
Sun 4pm–late