My culinary adventures in Melbourne last year started off at the popular Mexican eatery Mamasita. We had originally planned to go there for lunch, but instead we inadvertently beat the notorious queues by dropping in at 3pm on a Thursday afternoon thanks to our delayed flight over. Although Mamasita’s name is printed on the closed glass door entrance, it is such a narrow entry that it’s easy to walk straight past it. From the street all you see is a quirky sign that says “un taco? un tequila?” and the restaurant itself is up a flight of stairs and is rather roomy inside, split into two parts – a bar area and a dining area with some with window seats for people-watching.
The decor is simple, yet trendy with funky lightbulbs hanging down from the ceiling and a huge digital print of a retro bikini clad lady across one of the walls too. The vibe of the place is chilled out at this time of the day, but our food still took awhile to come out even though there weren’t many diners. The food was worth the wait though – starting with their famous Elote Callejeros which is street style chargrilled corn with cheese, chipotle mayo and lime. Mamasita really takes grilled corn to the next level; the chipotle mayo (and perhaps some paprika?) was so flavoursome and a perfect match for the juicy corn kernels, while the thin flakes of cheese melted in your mouth as you chomped through the cob.
Elote Callejeros, $4.90 each
Taco de Lengua y Cachete, $6
Next up was Taco de Lengua y Cachete a.k.a. braised ox tongue and cheek taco. This taco wasn’t very big but it was absolutely delicious, with tender and flavoured cubes of meat were tender and flavoured accompanied by a moreish ghost chilli mayo sauce. I wanted more…but we had some cute little Tostaditas de Pollo coming up which featured shredded chargrilled chicken, avocado, chipotle mayo and queso fresco atop mini fried tortillas. I found that the sauce was drizzled unevenly on the tostaditas as on my first bite, all I could taste was unseasoned chicken and it was a bit dry but on my second bite I got a lot of sauce with it resulting in a flavour explosion in my mouth! The waitress had kindly brought a side bowl of green salsa for us, so I slathered some onto the second tostadita I ate and it tasted glorious, courtesy of the strong hit of garlic and onion in the salsa.
Tostaditas de Pollo, $14
Finally, to finish off our meal we got an entree sized Ceviche de Veracruz which came in a shotglass with some crunchy fried tortilla strips to dip. This version of ceviche used raw snapper and marinated it in citrus juice, seasoned with diced tomato, red onions, green chilli, lime, olives and coriander. It wasn’t a very large or satisfying serving, and was more sour compared to some other ceviches I’ve had in Sydney. For the price of that little ceviche, I would have rather ordered another taco.
Ceviche de Veracruz, $8
After my visit, I can see why Mamasita is so popular – it serves up a variety of tasty Mexican dishes at decent price points, making it a perfect casual dining option after work for some finger food to share and drinks too.
1/11 Collins Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone:(03) 9650 3821