Designer Michael Hsu had his work cut out from the beginning at ATX Cocina. Not only is this stretch of Downtown Austin piled high with Mexican eateries – and every Austenite has their favourite – but the building sports an unchangeable glass façade, which, although framing a rare view of Lady Bird Lake, looks rather corporate.

To counterbalance all this, Hsu has created something of a work of art internally. A vaulted ceiling of hemlock and pine arches elegantly over the open kitchen and ring of sun-drenched dining rooms, which are furnished with pecan table tops and floors, custom cast concrete pendants, fabrics by Knoll and Carnegie and local artwork by Aaron Michalovic.

There is black cabinetry and vetiver green wire mesh to break up all the wood, and a menu from chef Kevin Taylor that looks boldly forward to modern Mexican, employing traditional ingredients and techniques to create exciting unique dishes.