Mamasita
Level 1, 11 Collins St
Melbourne, 3000
(03) 9650 3821

Last Thurday, Bf-B and I decided we would finally visit Mamasita after weeks of talking about it. Ever since Bf-B’s Taco Night and a recommendation by Sister A I had been dying to try it, however, since they don’t take bookings, I knew there were often considerable wait times for a table due to it’s popularity. So we decided to visit straight after work on a week night in an effort to avoid the crowds.

We arrived at around 5.30PM. There was already a line of 3 or 4 groups ahead of us, however, they were only waiting to be shown to a table. Score. As we approached the head of the line, we were told we could either take a seat at the bar, or wait for a table. As it was still early, we opted for a drink at the bar first.

I ordered a Sangria and Bf-B a beer while we waited. It was only 15 minutes or so before we were shown to our ‘table’ – a seat at the bench at the back of the restaurant. I guess they save the proper tables for bigger groups..

Our waiter was really friendly and helpful, taking us through the menu and suggesting we order one item from each of the columns: primeros, tostaditas, tacos, quesadilas/ceviche, and comida para la familia (main meals). There is also a good selection of sides and desserts.

We began with the much talked about “Elotes callejeros” or street-style chargrilled corn with queso, chipotle mayonnaise and lime ($4.40) at the suggestion of our waiter. Delicious! I can see what all the fuss is about. A little messy, but definitely worth getting your fingers dirty for. (You will have to excuse my photography – I know I said I was going to try and improve my skills, however, the place was quite dark, and I still have yet to summon the courage to walk into a restaurant brandishing a fat DSLR.)

Next up, was the de Pollo Tostaditas – 4 round corn chips topped with chargrilled chicken, avocado, queso fresco and chipotle mayonnaise ($14.00). These were good too, although could have done with a touch more seasoning. Don’t ask me why my chicken is white – the flash has done the food no favours.

From the taco section, Bf-B requested the de Chorizo – chorizo, cabbage, chipolte, coriander and onion ($5 each or 3 for $14). Again, a bit messy to eat but delicious.

With these came our de Pollo quesadilas – chargrilled chicken with ‘pico de gallo’ (fresh salsa), coriander and queso fresco cheese ($14.00). The quesadila was cut into 8, perfect for sharing. I loved the cheese in this dish – definitely not health conscious but oh-so good.

For the main event, I talked Bf-B into ordering the Estofado de cabra – chipotle-braised goat, roasted sweet corn paste and cassava ($27.00) – by telling him it was like lamb. Our waiter had said it was the best dish on the menu – how could we not order it! The meat just fell off the bone it was so tender, and the rich gravy melted into the sweet corn paste – which was a nice departure from typical mash or rice.

We also ordered a side salad of iceberg lettuce, cucumber, spring onion and oregano dressing ($5.00/$9.00). Funnily enough, I was surprised at how good this simple salad was! A little salty, but the dressing was so tasty.

After such a great meal, Bf-B insisted we try the sweet corn icecream cone, with caramelised popcorn ($6.00 each). The icecream is courtesy of Jock’s icecream in Albert Park and was delicious – creamy and smooth. I was a little hesitant at the thought of corn-flavoured-icecream as I don’t like strange flavour combinations, but found the sweetness of the corn worked perfectly in this dessert.

With all the hype Mamasita has received, I was pleased to find it lived up to it. The food was great and not overly priced, the waiters were attentive and helpful, and the atmosphere is cool and relaxed. Great for an after work snack with lots of drinks (they have a great tequila list!) or for a shared meal with friends.

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