Sunday, 6 January 2013

Un Taco? Un Tequila? At Mamasita? Hell yes!

A couple of years ago, if you had eaten Mexican food in a Melbourne restaurant, chances are you would have been greeted by Americanized burritos and stodgy, soggy nachos, all served by some guy wearing a ridiculous hat and a fake moustache. But unless you've been living under some kind of city-sized rock (ouch) for the past year or two, you will have noticed that Mexican food in Melbourne has become so much more than cheap tequila and weird dudes in sombreros who call themselves 'Pablo' (if that is even their real name. I have no quarrels with the moustaches however. They may stay). And this is where Mamasita comes in, the now infamous and extremely popular Mexican Restaurant, located on the first level of a Collins Street building. When I say popular, I mean popular. As in, Justan Beirber and One Direction combined (though that's not to say that there are Teeny Boppers crying in hysteria and fainting with excitement around the restaurant) kind of popular. People have been known to queue for hours just to savour a mouthful of their traditional tacos and swig at authentic Mexican tequila. Worth the wait? Read on to find out...

 I was pretty excited to finally be making my way to Mamasita after hearing so much about it. I'm pretty sure I owe God a huge favour now because when we arrived at 6pm there was, amazingly, no queue (*enter gasp of shock here*). Our waitress explained that they had just re-opened after a holiday break and word had not yet reached the rest of Melbourne's ears. All the more tacos for us! Thats not to say it wasn't busy though. The place was buzzing more than Tiger Wood's pants and there was the wonderful atmosphere of relaxed excitement in the air. The space itself is open, spacious and chilled out with a cool bar acting as the center point to the room. Though hard to get into and infinitely popular, there's not an ounce of pretention in the room and the crowd is mixed and lively.

Mamasita follows the traditional Mexican food value of 'sharing is caring', so the menu is split into a range of small-ish dishes that are designed to be enjoyed by the whole table. There's Primeros and Tostaditas to start, followed by a list of 6 inch tacos, Quesadillas, ceviche and then larger sharing plates. It's not too overwhelming in size, which was good because the decision of what to eat was already a challenge (oh, if only we could all eat as much as Elvis), though our waiter was more than happy to offer some help. My Amico de Mexicano for the evening and I began with the tostaditas, four small and crunchy rounds of tacos topped with crab meat, avocado, cucumber, tamarind mayo and habanero. They were like an explosion of crabby goodness (...may I clarify that I'm referring to the sea creature, not the infection), with the perfect balance of crunchy and soft, as well as spicy and fresh. We then moved on to the soft tacos, where I selected the 'de Pescado'. So. Fricking. Good. I'm pretty sure when I ate this grilled fish, lime, achiote paste and cucmber salsa concoction, I fainted. A little awkward for my dinning companion who was left to explain to the wait staff, but I was too busy in fishy heaven to care. I always thought the idea of a fish taco was kinda, um, weird, but now I have seen the light. The bean, mushroom, corn, epazote (not gonna lie, I have no clue what that is) and pico de gallo quesadillo was pretty good, though not as flavoursome as our previous dishes, but the meal was picked back up again by some delicious grilled prawns with toasted garlic and green almond sauce. The drinks are also a big focus here and revolve around authentic wines and beers from Mexico, South America and Spain. Tequila is, of course, a big deal, with it's own space on the menu and only 100% agave is used. This means it is completely authentic and comes only from the areas where the agave plant grows (namely the Western Mexican states). Thank you Wikipedia.

 Crab Tostaditas

Fish taco. Better than sex. With Ryan Gossling.

Bean Quesadilla

Prawns with green almond sauce


I left Mamasita feeling full, content with our experience and not like I'd succumb to some kind of food trend fad at all. This stuff is the real deal. And best of all, it's dished up to you with that little touch of Melbourneness. Can it get better than authentic Mexican food with a dash of Melbourne Style on the side? No tequila that makes your eyes water, no nachos drowning in cheese and no sombreros in sight (sorry, Pablo. It was never going to work). I'd say Melbourne's found itself a beacon to Mexican food everywhere. And you know what? I've just thought of a way I can repay God...with a fish taco. Lucky bastard.

1 comment:

  1. Still haven't managed to get here, one day... Love all the photos but especially the Fish Taco comment, I never thought anything would be better than *imagined sex with Ryan Gosling - so it must be pretty darned great!