444 - 448 Khyber Pass Road,
(09) 522 1201
The ViewAuckland Review
3 out of 5
According to a scene in the classic John Belushi and Dan Akroyd movie, The Blues Brothers, there are only two types of music, country and western. Luckily at the newly opened Mustang Saloon & Grill, they manage to squeeze in a few other variations on classic American roots music. And in a city where most bars are on a high rotate of Norah Jones, Fat Freddy's Drop, or bland Eurotrash beats, it's refreshing to hear something a little different.
The Mustang is the latest opening on the corner of Khyber Pass and Newmarket. In earlier times the building housed a Swensen's Ice Cream Parlour, Hugo's Frog Bar, and most recently, The Park Bar & Brasserie. Now the theme is 'Tex Mex' which means there are miniature cacti on each table, cowboy hats and boots on the wait staff, and a couple of cattle skulls on the walls. It's been given a lick of paint, but a lot of the (slightly tatty) furniture is straight from its former life as The Park.
When I swing by for a midweek lunch, The Mustang's been open less than a week and a few curious punters are in for good value burgers, tacos and enchiladas. The new owner is a Kiwi guy, but has spent a long time in North America, and The Mustang is the kind of place that's on most street corners in the States and Canada.
With a dart board and a red baize pool table, no-one's ever going to mistake The Mustang for a sophisticated cocktail bar, but that's nothing to be ashamed of. Tap beers including Speights and Lion Red start at just $5.50 and for twenty three bucks you can get a bucket of five Coronas. Wine is similarly affordable, and tequila nights and Margarita Mondays are also in the works. Bar snacks including cheesy quesadillas and deep fried jalapeno peppers are big enough to keep a Mexican wrestler going for a week, and tacos are just ten bucks for three.
Compared to the cavernous and grey stylings of The Penny Black across the road, The Mustang promises to deliver good uncomplicated and unpretentious fun. The service is certainly not slick, but in the first week came with a permanent smile.
I look forward to returning when things get a bit more raucous after dark. This time I'll make sure the wait staff doesn't stand on my toes with their cowboy boots.
The Mustang Saloon & Grill has been reviewed by 4 users