So I've done a bit of the leg work and tried nearly every Mexican Restaurant in Melbourne, to bring you these three pearlers.
First cab off the rank is 'Los Latinos' funnily enough I ate here probably the night it opened, and several times after that. The menu then was a shadow of its current self. Some of the food I ate isn't even on the menu now Murga (The Proprietor) tells me. I only live a stone's throw from Los Latinos (not much leg work there I'll give you that).
I love the name too, it summons up a fistful of spaghetti westerns, without the spaghetti, perhaps a quesadilla instead. Although this isn't just a Mexican Restaurant, this is a multitude of Latino foods, as it states on the window, Salvadorean, Chilean, Mexican and Peruvian. With foods from Costa Rica, Colombia and Peru to come.
Big serves give you a really home cooked feel, pupusas are something you may not have come across on your Taco Bill travels. But these scrumptious little devils are made from maize flour and have a filling of either deep fried pork, refried beans or two cheeses, served with some pickled cabbage and a sexy salsa.
Scrumptious Little Devils.
This is just one of many delights to get you salivating over the menu which as I say has grown from a single sided sheet to a multi paged plethora of dishes most of you won't even have heard of. They all have that same delicious spicy, refried beany, guacamole, sour creamy, cheesy, a maize 'n' bready, chilli lickin' tomatoey, Latin American sassy flavoured palette smackin' food that we've grown to love from this part of the world.
I think anyone who likes a Mexican meal will find it hard going back to plain old Taco Bills after this flavour workout.
They are licensed, and since the other greatest thing we all love about Mexican food is Margaritas which is an added bonus here as it means you get to try not only an array of Margaritas but a saloon's worth of Latin beers too.
It took a lot of tinkering to perfect and there's still more to come on this menu from what Mario (Murga's husband) told me, he's got more specials on the way. So it's an ever changing scene, which makes for an interesting night out. Looking at the back of the menu you see there is a large breakfast selection too, served from 8.15am onwards on the weekends they tell me.
I'll add a copy of the Breakfast Menu here just to give an idea of the different things you can get in order to introduce your taste buds to some new flavour sensations.
For a few dollars less, than a lot of breakfasts.
Reasonably priced, humming with atmosphere, with lovely staff making this a memorable experience as well as a feast of new experiences for the palette. 9.5/10 a good score.
I first heard about this place from those two old fruits on that early morning radio show. From what I can remember they were impressed with it. They kept going on about Roast Marrow, which didn't appeal to me at all. The rest however sounded great. Californian inspired food, from an Hispanic point of view.
I like that word Hispanic, it's got a magical way about it like you are casting a spell, maybe with a pair of maracas. This place does have a bit of Magic. That certain Je ne sais quoi? (I know not what?) It makes you wonder about those French expressions we use. A Spanish one would have been more appropriate, but Amigos con beneficios, didn't seem to suit.
Underneath the arches.
The place was abuzz. We were possibly a bit on the old side for the crowd here, but no one made us feel like that. As per usual we got there early, and were able to get a seat straight away. A half hour later, it was packed to the rafters.
They call their food Cal Mex, Hispanic, Latin, you get the idea. To describe this place? It's really the whole gamut of Bruce McCavaney superlatives. It's special, which adds up to a delicious night out.
I love those pipe lights.
The drinks arrived. A Bitter Gringo, a potent concoction of tequila, rhubarb liquor, Licor 43, lemon juice, vanilla and pink grapefruit, for my partner at $17 a pop. I got the Coldstream Cider for a mere $7. She loved the Bitter Gringo. She said it reminded her of me. "I'm not a Gringo?"
We ordered a lot of help from the waiter. On his recommendation we started with BBQ corn on the cob with chilli and queso fresco at $6 each - an absolute bargain - they were very tasty. No dropping the ball here.
For the mains, we had a bit of a mish mash, and shared a selection of dishes. Baked sweet potato with jalapeños and queso fresco at $9, Wood BBQ field mushrooms with jalapeño and sour cream at $9 and XL St Louis style pork ribs with Mr Wilson's BBQ sauce and summer slaw at $12 each.
The taste sensations were marvelous, but boy, those mushrooms what a standout they were. It was all top notch, but those mushies, Bruce? Spectacular.
We were watching the shekels, so we didn't go overboard. Overall it was top draw food. A memorable eating experience.
The décor is modern, classy, welcoming and comfortable.
My score 9/10. If the prices had been a little keener, we could have eaten some of the less affordable food, which sounded magnificent. I suppose that's not their fault we were too miserly. No, but some things are exorbitant, food and drinks. Also, the menu, whilst full of delicious sounding things it's a little difficult to navigate, and to know what might go with what.
Here's a great Lowell George song to get you in the good food mood. It's called Cheek to Cheek:
Hot, hot, hot.
34 Inkerman Street, St Kilda, Victoria
Telephone 61 3 9537 1777
The last in this box trifecta is Bluecorn Mexican Restaurant, go to the full review here Bluecorn review.
Comer de amigos! (eat up friends), I was going to use Gringo, but that's a foreigner. A great song is by Maria Muldaur called Gringo in Mexico while we're on the Mexican theme:
Hi, I'm a Mexican living in Melbourne and have been in the lookout for nice Mexican restaurants. May I suggest you try Mi Corazon? It sits on Lygon St. (East Brunswick) and its food is quite authentic and delicious. The tacos de carnitas are my favorite dish on the menu. The tostadas de cochinita are awesome, too. Cheers!