Mexican wave in Melbourne
Since mid 2011, the Age weekend has published a constant thread of articles discussing ‘Melbourne’s Mexican food craze’ and it is true – we are right in the middle of the hottest trend in Melbourne that is not exclusive to just the cities hipsters. With Mexican restaurants popping up around every corner and all claiming absolute authenticity, it is worth checking out a few to see what all the fuss is about.
With healthy competition, competitive prices follow and with the exception of a few (cough cough Mamasitta’s) all maintain consistently cheap to mid range prices. Although the number of Mexican restaurants around the inner city, especially Richmond, is slightly overwhelming, it is hard to say no to wholesome, honest, food made with passion and love that taps into the very centre of a food lover’s heart. Each restaurant has a unique and individual style of their own but all maintain the feel of a family home and a comfortable dining experience.
Here are my top three Mexican restaurants in Melbourne – all completely different – all worth a visit over and over and over again.
Chingón – 413 Swan Street Richmond
Two brothers, in the hope of sharing their Mexican childhood through food, music and décor are the owners of Chingón. Their restaurant comes to life like a street stall or food cart and offers simple flavours by the way of six tacos – where the choice is made nice and easy with the 3 for $15 special. Accompanied with a side menu of guacamole, chips and salsa and salad, all ingredients are fresh and served on a napkin to be eaten with your hands. The atmosphere is warm and friendly and centres on the food but also the selection of festive Mexican music that is hard to ignore.
Al Pasor Char-grilled achiote pork, grilled pineapple & capsicum salsa feta
Carne Asada Charcoal steak, black beans, fire-roasted tomato & corn salsa feta
De Pollo Orange & honey charcoal chicken, guacamole, salasa Mexicana feta
Fonda – 248 Swan Street Richmond
‘Mi Casa, Su Casa’ is the Fonda philosophy and homely it is. The team at Fonda successfully make fresh, summer flavours feel warm and snug and with larger servings than some other Mexican restaurants, you’ll be sure to get your moneys worth. Expanding by the day, Fonda has inside, courtyard and street side dining and if you’re smart enough to line up early, a long wait is easy to avoid. The interior design is minimalist with chic black and white tiling and big open tables to share tucked around each corner.
Grilled Chicken Quinoa, salsa verde, corn, queso fresco, cabbage
Charred Corn Chipotle aioli, ricotta salata, lime
Senoritas – 16 Meyers Place Melbourne
Mysterious and gothic, a theatrical theme is set from the front door of Señoritas. Linda Temani and Chef Hugo Reyes have diners captured with their dramatic homage to “Dia de Muertos” with a femme fatale twist that is only comparable to the infamous Mexican legend, La Malinche. The food follows suite with a selection of Frida and Diego entradas plates to share between two. Señoritas ticks all the boxes for those with dietary requirements as the kitchen caters for gluten free and vegan customers. Bookings are essential as the popularity of the Meyers Place restaurant is overwhelming and with limited seating, a planned date is the best way to ensure a table
Tacos oaxaqueno Taco with sweet potato, epazote, frijoles, queso fresco & chipotle mayo