Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Level 1, 11 Collins St
Melbourne, 3000

Well I finally made it. After a few aborted attempts to get a seat at Mamasita I manage to finally get a spot at the bar in the middle of a busy Wednesday lunch service.

A lot has been written about Mamasita. In fact, it is possibly the most blogged restaurant in a town that has more bloggers than just about anywhere in the world. Reports on the food vary wildly from exciting to boring and bland, the operation has been described from funky to arrogant.

My previous attempts to eat at Mamasita have been greeted with the staircase queue of dread and the policy of "leave your name, go to a nearby bar and we will call you when ready". To be honest it comes across as quite clumsy and to those who are willing to roll up and wait an hour for a spot I say good luck. The reverse reservation policy leaves a bad impression I think and is probably the largest reason for the impression of arrogance.

Anyway, back to the point - the food and the restaurant. Middle of lunch service and there is no queue or stress, the greeting at the top of the stairs was very friendly and this carried through to the waitress who took the time to go through the menu and discuss the various dishes. All friendly, no arrogance.

de Huitlacoche - Mexican truffle, mushrooms, roasted corn, epazote & queso fresco

So after a short wait my order arrived and my first bite of Mamasita was quite impressive, normally a quesadilla ordered in Melbourne is a ton of tasty cheese, between hard shells, soggy from grease with shredded beef or chicken. The Mamasita quesadilla is more restrained, nice mushrooms with cheese and corn between two toasted tortilla's. Quite good, in fact very good.

L: de Lengua y Mejilla - Braised veal tongue & ox cheek, pickled vegetable & ghost chilli mayonnaise
R: de Camarones - Marinated prawns with habanero chillies & chipotle almond salsa

Along with my order of quesadilla I ordered a duet of taco's, after all it is hard to go to a "taqueria" without having at least one taco.

After some deliberation and coaching from the waitress I went with the prawn taco and the ox-cheek/veal tongue taco off their extensive taco list. The prawn taco is a spicy little number with three perfectly cooked prawns in a spicy chipotle salsa that almost overwhelms the light prawn meat but manages to balance quite well. The tongue & cheek combo is a playful combination, the tongue is nice and crispy, the ox cheek by itself is a little bland but when all are combined with the chili mayonnaise it all works, but those ghost chilli's in the mayo pack a punch.

So after getting through the door and to a seat at Mamasita I can say I enjoyed the food and also enjoyed the atmosphere. As I left Mamasita and opened the door to walk out the floor manager was waiving and shouting his thanks from the top of the staircase.

Mamasita - Good food, freindly staff, just wish it was easier to get a seat!

Mamasita - 13/20
Mamasita on Urbanspoon

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