Hidden away in the corner of little Italy Leichhardt is Tomatoz Mexican Restaurant and Tequila Bar. It sits amongst the pizzerias and pasta restaurants of The Forum, beckoning customers in with a warm and friendly atmosphere.
A very excited friend shared her experience of Mexican cuisine with me and encouraged me to accompany her the next time she visited. Upon arrival, I was pleasantly impressed with the menu. Too used to being handed a laminated sheet of paper, I was delighted to receive a leather bound book. Their menu not only displayed a list of meals and beverages, but also detailed the history of Mexican foods, flavours and of chef Gustavo Miguel Torres Segura himself!
The girls ordered themselves two Mojito Cocktails, a concoction of lime, rum and mint leaves. While I'm not a fan of mint (it reminds me too much of toothpaste), I found the mint balanced the flavours of the drink well and was surprisingly refreshing.
We began the evening by ordering three starters to share. First we ordered Beef Nachos. These were served with beef strips, not the mincemeat I had been expecting, copious amounts of cheese, tomato, guacamole, sour cream, Spanish onion and jalapenos.
We also ordered the Chorizo Asado, which I could barely pronounce to the waiter. Luckily, he knew what I was trying to say! Chorizo sausages are a special sometimes food for me, so these were a delight to eat. They came grilled served in a roasted tomato and chipotle chilli jam. They were not quite as spicy as I had prepared myself for.
Being somewhat biased towards meals covered in extremely unhealthy amounts of cheese, I have to say that the Queso Fundido won my heart over as the ultimate starter. It really was FUNdido (that's the last of the lame puns, I promise). When a small pot of creamy melted cheese arrived at our table accompanied by a basket of corn chips, we didn't hold back. Not only did we dip into the cheese sauce, but used it to accompany all the other food we ate.
Due to slow eating, we were feeling comfortably full when our main arrived. We ordered one serving of Chicken Enmoladas. We received four soft tortillas with chicken wrapped inside and coated in mole sauce. Mole sauce turned out to be a traditional Mexican sauce that incorporates over 20 ingredients including chillies and chocolate. It was a strange sensation; there was the soft tingle of the chilli contrasted with the bittersweet of the cocoa. They were enjoyable, but I wouldn't order them again.
We finished our evening with hours of conversation over a serving of Churros, which I initially got mixed up with Chorizo. It was a learning experience for me to say the least! The Churros was like eating a long soft cinnamon doughnut, with chocolate sauce drizzled across it. The outside was soft yet crunchy, but the inside tasted as though it had merely soaked up the oil it was fried in.
The night we visited was a quiet night for the Forum, and so by half past seven we were Tomatoz only customers. The weekends are much more popular, with jumbo Margaritas on Fridays, and live entertainment on Saturdays and Sundays. I have every intention of visiting on a weekend to experience the live Salsa dancers.
I can't finish off without mentioning the decorations. Elegant sombreros are hung along the wall, and when the chef spied me taking photos of them he offered to let me wear one. The waitstaff were friendly and promptly attended to all our needs and I'm sure the atmosphere would have been a lot better if it hadn't been a cold Thursday night. Worth a visit.