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By Tom• 20 Feb 2019
El Culo del Mundo is the city’s freshest Latin-American eatery and bar, by the folks behind The Rogue & Vagabond. Despite its name – translating literally to "the ass of the world" (or in their words "the end of the world") – this new joint, with its cool vibes and mouth-watering food and drinks, this has rocketed to our list of 'must-returns'.
El Culo takes pride of place on the prominent intersection of Marjoribanks and Roxburgh Streets. Despite some of the interior remaining from previous tenants, Five Boroughs, the transformation of the space is impressive. It’s a perfectly airy hideaway with cool natural lighting and relaxed Latin-American music – ideal for the summer months, and with potential to become equally cosy come winter.
The black-tiled bar fronts a selection of local tap beers and an even wider range of spirits – with a shining light on mescal. [For the uninitiated, mescal is an agave spirit similar to tequila, but with more variety.] Manager Mike is an expert on the stuff. I can highly recommend the Teotikilan, comprised of mescal, lime, rum, and grapefruit.
The menu has a bent towards tacos, but don’t stop reading there. There are a number of vegan and vego options and some quirky ingredients and snacks; the Otago Grasshoppers served with guacamole and plantain chips were surprisingly un-offensive in wholegrain taste and crisp texture.
El Culo’s house-made corn chips already have me crowning them the “best in town”. They’re substantial and crunchy, with a generous serving of guacamole, chili salt, and lime. I love guacamole like this: left a little bit ‘whole’, so you can tell it’s made from fresh avocado. Also served with corn chips is the bone marrow – something I would never usually order, but presented so beautifully here.
Onto the tacos...Starting with the tortillas: of course house-made, beautifully yellow or purple, thick enough to keep the filling together, and thin enough not to steal the show. Spot on! The carnitas feature the best pulled pork I’ve had in a long time – delicate, but rich and filling, served with salsa verde, and on a double layer of tacos – presumably to contain the juices.
The cauliflower comes with pickled purple cabbage, tingly pomegranate mojo, and sikil pak (Mayan pumpkinseed dip – think of it as a habanero hummus) – a must try! As for the mushroom, we’re talking a char-grilled deep, earthy mushroom, with smoked capsicum and avocado. Everything is seasoned perfectly, with lashings of red and green salsa and rock salt on the side.
As if El Culo hadn’t impressed us enough with food and drink, they also pride themselves on ethically-sourcing their produce and ingredients, using 100% free-range food, and paying their staff a living wage. As it turns out, the name “El Culo Del Mundo” is actually a reference to how far we’d go for another round of their mescal and tacos!
A Latin American bar and eatery on Roxburgh Street, Mt Victoria.