New taquería brings beer, spirits, and Mexican street food to Ari
If you are particularly well-versed in Mexican slang, you already know what you’re getting into with TacoChela. Meaning “tacos and beer” in the vernacular, this colourful, carefully renovated home in Ari specialises in—you guessed it—street-style tacos with quality beer. That description falls woefully short of the mark, though. These aren’t your average tacos, and the beer is anything but the run-of-the-mill brews you might still associate with this city.
TacoChela is the brainchild of Chef Jimmy Rojas Lopez, who relocated from Dubai (where he was head chef at Zoco) to partner with the beer geeks behind Mikkeller Bangkok. Here, Lopez has traded his chef’s whites for black t-shirts and low-slung shorts. “It’s a taquería, not a restaurant,” he’s quick to remind. A palette of chartreuse, bubble-gum pink, baby blue, and bright yellow—contrasted by white bricks blasted with Mikkeller Art Director Keith Shore’s Henry and Sally characters running away with a red chilli—reinforces his assertion.
The menu is made up of pan-Mexican dishes that go down well with beer. Before the restaurant opened, Lopez tried out different combinations at pop-ups: slow-cooked pork butt, chorizo, grilled steak. Since TacoChela has opened, he’s plated Tacos Alambre (B190 for three), literally a mix of chopped things, like steak, ham, and bacon, whose flavour calls to mind flame-grilled fajitas; Fried Fish Tacos (B280 for three) served with vibrant chimichurri; and mouth-watering, hip-widening Chorizo (B280 for three). To cut through the heaviness, try one of the house-made Ceviches, which rotate depending on availability and the chef’s whims, from Grouper (B86) to Snapper (B275), and whatever else is fresh at the moment.
The Mikkeller crew have always gone above and beyond to provide some of the boldest, brightest, and hardest to find beers in Thailand. Here they’ve installed 20 taps and stocked dozens of world-class beers, including the single-hop IPA series from Mikkeller, which highlight the distinct flavours of different hop varieties: Simcoe, Chinook, Mosaic. This is a great opportunity to experience how one core ingredient can influence the flavour and aroma of a beer.
Hoppy beers also complement spicy and tangy foods. One good pairing: Omnipollo Zodiak IPA (B380/pint) with the House Guacamole (B225). But with so many beers and a tap list that will likely rotate by the week, you can freely experiment here. For a more robust flavour profile, try Mikkeller’s complex and label-defying Mexas Ranger (B160/half pint), a dark beer brewed with Mexican spices, almond milk, cocoa, black beans, and avocado leaves.
If—gasp—you’d rather have a cocktail, know that TacoChela serves a few kinds of Margaritas (B260/150ml) on draft, from passionfruit to the classic lime-and-salted-rim mix. Finally, in true Mexican fashion, the bar stocks a number of rare mescals and tequilas, including bottles from Casa Noble.
By Craig Sauers
TacoChela by Mikkeller
Ari Samphan Soi 1
Open: Tue-Thu, 5pm-11pm, Fri-Sat, 5pm-midnight