It's just before 6.00pm on a Friday afternoon and the Hotel Orient Mexican Kitchen is packed. The small triangular space is standing room only, with dozens of revellers taking advantage of $5 Pints for Happy Hour. But while Friday afternoons are pleasantly chaotic, Friday nights are even better. Because the Hotel Orient Mexican Kitchen has Tuffy.
Former Keith Urban band mate, and arguably Brisbane's most famous pub cover act, Tuffy brings his rock n roll sound to the Hotel Orient every Friday night. The dance floor crowded and undulated as the moustachioed lad belted out the usual crowd pleasers and a few surprises, including an unexpected rendition of Do You Like Pina Coladas?
The Mexican Kitchen portion of the Hotel Orient launched in December 2012. Much like Tuffy, the menu features the usual Mexican dishes and a few not so usual offerings, such as Peruvian mussels and cured fish. We had the quesadilla platter, which was enormous and fed five people comfortably. The quesadillas were tasty and a perfect accompaniment to the beers we were drinking, although they may have been a little thin to make a satisfying standalone meal.
But what was lacking in the food department was more than made up for with drinks and service. The Hotel Orient strives to provide table service, which we found very handy once we'd finally nabbed ourselves a table. The bar staff know their drinks, and at one stage, came to our table with bottles of alcohol to explain what they had available. When I expressed uncertainty about my cocktail order, another bartender came to our table to help me with my choice. In the end, I did something very unusual for someone at a Mexican themed venue – I ordered a margarita. It was very, very good.