I am a freelance writer born in Johannesburg now living in Melbourne. I love travelling and have lived in London and Taipei as well as travelling in and around South Africa. I have a great interest in exploring and love to share my finds with others.
Published December 8th 2012
Tequila, tacos, salsa and burittos - oh my
Amigos Mexican restaurant on Hardware lane is an ambient and exciting Mexican and Spanish inspired restaurant, which is a part of the Amigos Mexican restaurant family the first of which was established in 1981. There are five Amigos Mexican restaurants situated in the most popular dining districts in Melbourne such as the location in the Hardware lane.
The location of this restaurant does not disappoint for style or atmosphere and offers both outdoor seating in the European style expected from this stylish Melbourne city laneway and seating inside. The restaurant is cosy and on this occasion we booked a party of 20 individuals for a birthday function, which I would encourage if looking to visit this restaurant in a group larger than two.
This restaurant offers modern Mexican and Spanish inspired cuisine with many favourites appearing on the menu. Among our party we ordered the Nachos original (with a healthy helping of corn chips, melted cheese, guacamole, sour cream and salsa) and Machos Nachos, which appeared just as the original nachos with the added bonus of shredded beef and frijoles or mashed pinto beans with cheese. You can order the large size ($18) or small ($15) depending on your needs. Our party ordered the larger size due to the number of diners and the dishes did not disappoint with plenty of topping on each serving, a mild spicy kick and lovely crunchy corn chips.
Another popular dish among my group was the enchiladas. We ordered both beef and the vegetarian alternative being spinach and potato. Both came in a soft corn tortilla with garlic, tomato and tasty cheese with a choice of pico de gallo (a spicy salsa), frijoles (mashed pinto beans blended with cheese), black bean & corn salsa or rice for $13. The entree serving is about the size of an Iphone and were both described as tasty with lots of flavour. I personally had the spinach and potato with rice. The rice itself is not plain but mixed with tomato and small pieces of onion and tomato and carefully spiced. The enchilada itself was heavier on the potato then the spinach but I really enjoyed the dish.
We also ordered among our party the Prawn and scallop paella at $29. Not like your usual paella dish this one appeared on a sizzling platter but was thoroughly enjoyed. Feedback on the dish included that it was tasty and filling with an unusual presentation as described.
A party member also enjoyed the Chimi Changa, which was beef in a crispy flour tortilla with cheese and a serving of the spicy pico de gallo and frijoles at $25. The dish although arriving a little later than others was equally as enjoyable and a very decent size and appeared to be bulging with its delicious filling.
An order of the Signature Fajitas was also enjoyed with a chicken filling. This came with stir fried onion, capsicum, mushroom, garlic with white wine, honey and seeded mustard in cream and in the classic 'DIY' style appeared with a side of lettuce, guacamole, pico de gallo, rice and a choice of the flour or white corn tortillas. The chicken fajitas were $28.50. This was described as filling, with plenty sides and a tasty flavour on the chicken. The mustard, honey and white wine was unusual but very pleasing.
The group enjoyed the Amigos traditional sangria with red wine, orange juice and lemonade served over ice with fresh citrus fruit at $24 for the jug with a glass costing $7. Diners in my party also ordered the Amigos agave white wine with fresh citrus fruits, soda and El Jimador Tequila sweetened with natural agave nectar (a classic and natural sweetener derived from the Agave plant – also used to make tequila). The jug price is $30 and a glass is $9.50. The Amigos agave white wine sangria actually proved to be the favourite with many diners not experiencing white wine sangria before and finding it a tastier and lighter (in flavour not alcohol) drink.
We also had two of the non alcoholic cocktails including the Neo Toltec, which was strawberries, ice cream, and lemonade blended with ice, which was a very sweet but delicious alternative to alcohol at $9 a glass and a banana virgin daiquiri, which was particularly more-ish and full of banana flavour at $9.50.
Do take note that larger groups may experience delays in receiving their food but l would love to go back to this Mexican inspiration with authentic Mexican and Spanish food with flair and one heck of a sangria.