Muchacho – Cocktails with Latin American Flavour in Ghent
It’s time to pay another visit to Gent’s impressive bar scene. I had heard that a Mexican cocktail bar had opened a couple of months ago in one of the tiny streets diagonally opposite the Mexican restaurant Bicho Malo. Sounds like agave distillates and pisco, doesn’t it?
The newly opened Muchacho bar extends the Mexican inspired restaurant Bicho Malo with its own bar concept just across the street. I really like interaction between restaurant and bar concepts: To have everything to delight the taste buds in the immediate vicinity.
The idea: extend the restaurant Bicho Malo with a fine drinking bar concept.
As soon as I entered the bar, I was struck by a good vibe and surrounded by a dark and intimate atmosphere. For the interior, think of concrete walls paired with steel struts, dark wood, suspended lights with bulbs, plants and everything bathed in a pleasant red light. You sit comfortably in the bar window or at the square bar, which facilitates the exchange between bartender and guests. There is room for just a limited number of guests. For me, size doesn’t always matter at this point – I love tiny bars. A glance at the spirits selection immediately reveals the bar’s area of specialisation. The cocktails all have a Latin American flavour. If you love Mezcal and Pisco you are in good hands here.
Muchacho means “young man” in Spanish, and that’s exactly who you’ll find behind the bar. Frederic Geirnaert is shaking the place, mostly on his own. He is no stranger, he gained experience at Jigger’s for three years and has also learned the perfection of Japanese cocktail culture in Tokyo. The drinks are perfectly composed and the service impeccable. As he is also into foraging you can expect many homemade ingredients too.
Everything is Latin American inspired. Drinks are country-specific with an individual touch from the bartender.
The menu is a nicely curated list of drinks to quench your thirst from exceptional classics to sensational signatures to typical Mexican Latin American longdrinks. Mezcalicious Margaritas and fruity fluffy Pisco Sours go without saying. For the small appetite, there is a selection of Mexican dips such as guacamole and red bean dip. Nachos accompany each drink. I ordered drinks both from and off the menu.
The delicious Malacopa highlights Dada Chapel Bhrum, distilled in Ghent, with Oloroso Sherry, Nixta Corn Liquor and Coffee Kombucha Vinegar. I would recommend pairing it with the mouth watering charcuterie. A great match. And for “dessert” go for a Rompope. A Mexican version of an eggnog with Bacardi, Nixta corn liquor, coconut, sugar, Fernet Branca and egg yolk crowned with homemade leftover cookie. Sustainability and food recycling are on everyone’s lips, literally. Don’t miss the Mexican interpretation of a classic Belgian beer mix, the Chela Fresca. Home fermented Tepache, a classic South American drink fermented with pineapple, meets Belgian Pale Ale, low on ABV and refreshing.
Muchacho was a great adventure and is definitely on my return list. It enriched my list of drinking spots in Ghent. “Me gusta”!