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The Stanley Beer Yard has relaunched as Calexico – a relaxed, Americana-style restaurant and vinyl lounge.
We loved Stanley Beer Yard for its easygoing, casual and cheerful nature. Calexico is bound to become a popular local for the same reasons and more. Head chef Cecelia Hobyani and her team have put together a concise menu of appetisers, buns, mains, side and dessert. Produce is fresh, seasonal and locally sourced – perhaps this is why the menu is kept simple, so that the ingredients and flavour combinations can speak for themselves.
Go big or go home here, to do the Americana-style fare justice, and work your way from the top of the menu to the bottom. The appetisers are great for sharing. Sink your teeth into a plate of nachos with salsa and smashed avo or – for a slightly different interpretation, but still a satisfying mix of crunchiness and a bit of heat – go for the tortilla chips with a hot artichoke-and-jalapeño dip.
Listed under buns you’ll find a pretty impressive double double bourbon cheeseburger, with all the right homemade flavours. It’s a burger stack comprising two juicy patties, a double serving of melted mozzarella, fresh tomato, lettuce and loads of red onion. Burgers are served with shoestring fries or Calexico-style green slaw, consisting of apple, celery, fennel and cabbage. More serious carnivores will take delight in the offering of mains: half or full sticky ribs in a homemade BBQ sauce, half or full chipotle rotisserie chicken or chimichurri dry-aged sirloin steak.
For vegetarians, there’s a BBQ wild mushroom skewer, with more options from sides, such as a comforting mac and cheese, jalapeño-and-lime corn on the cob or a three-bean salad with salsa and avo. Balance off your meal with one or two sweet treats – chocolate brownies or homemade apple pie served with halva ice cream.
The drinks menu states that beers and wines change quite often, so if you’re heading to Calexico for a specific something, phone ahead. There are lagers, dark lagers, amber ale and apple cider on tap, a few bottled beers, bubbles by Miss Molly and six solid white wine and red wine options such as Secateurs, DMZ, Iona and Raka. Or you could slurp on a Margarita to stick with the mood of the restaurant. There’s a standard selection of sodas available too.
Charming and cheerful.
Calexico feels familiar upon entry, as if walking into the lounge of a home – a sprawling wooden home – with a cool and modern character, in which a well-travelled family live. The space draws inspiration from California and Mexico, named after a border city in Cali, and the restaurant and bar express that well. Take note of the vinyl lounge and wall, where you’ll likely want to spend some time checking out records while chilling on the couches, in and among plenty of palm plants. Indoors, there’s a cosy fireplace and outside, a spacious deck for delicious summer days.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here.