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Food and Review: Tex-Mex Caterwaul

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The Chicken Fajita at Alley Cat. Photo AlexAnder Crook

t’s well known that cats like to party. “Ev’rybody wants to be a cat,” Disney’s Aristocats sang in their bohemian Paris attic hideout, banging on an off-tune piano and destroying the furniture of their ramshackle digs. No drugs fuelled the frolicsome knees-up in this respectable children’s film, at least as far as we know.

The cats starring in the movie were grown-up dropouts from cat society – street cats without a regular income. It may be that the director Wolfgang Reitherman had to cut out some of the more piquant scenes. Given their lifestyle, it’s well within the realms of possibility that cat gang leader Thomas O’Malley and his busker friend Swingy might have spent their evenings snorting catnip from the back of a contrabass.

Street cats are rough; alley cats are much of a muchness. At the Alley Cat restaurant, tucked in a lane off Street 19, you can see Top Cat, Sylvester, Tom and Scratchy painted in a rough fresco on the wall above the bar, reclining around a table after a hearty supper and relaxing with booze and reefers.

This little homage to cats gone bad, a martial arts film on TV and the oriental silk hangings from the ceiling create a sloped and yet very relaxed atmosphere. The well-spiced chicken fajita comes in a sizzling iron pan and packs a punch lacking in most of the other Tex-Mex on offer around the city. Washed down with an Adios Motherfucker – the restaurant’s signature cocktail, replete with just about every kind of liquor you could name and a few more on top to boot – this little hole in the wall is a great place to lay the foundations for a night spent on the prowl.

ALLEY CAT
Address: No. 42 St. 19Z,
near Cnr St. 178
Hours: 11am – Late

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