10 November 2010
Mamasita @ Level 1, 11 Collins Street, Melbourne
Boasting a flirtatious name which essentially translates to ‘hot babe’, Mamasita has been the talk of the town since its opening in February this year. The swarm of after work drink seekers ensures a buzzing atmosphere in this Mexican influenced bar. Arrive early or be prepared to join the beeline of customers squatting on the wooden stairs waiting to join the festivities. With high quality Mexican cuisine and a wide range of tequila to match, Mamasita’s success is no surprise.
We began with the “Totopos Los Dos”, commonly known as tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole. These triangular shaped corn chips are plain in taste – they bear no resemblance to your garden variety Doritos or CC’s - but their mild corn flavours and perfect crunchiness make them surprisingly addictive. Coupled with the spicy tomato salsa and velvety smooth guacamole, these tortilla chips make for the perfect bar snack or appetiser to your main meal.
The ceviche items were beautifully presented in a shot glass and were accompanied with a tortilla chip duo. The “Ceviche mixto” was a wonderful mélange of heat and acidity. Tidbits of fresh chilli and lime cured prawns and scallops were embellished with juicy green apple slivers and ripe cherry tomatoes; pockets of coriander added the final touch to an enlivening combination of ingredients. The “Ceviche de Yucatan” drew a similar response with its wonderfully lime cured fish and sea of chilli and mint infused coconut milk.
Our savoury dishes ended with the “Taco al Pastor”. Inside the supple wheat tortilla was a delectable serve of succulently braised pork that had been augmented with coriander and specks of white onion and sweetened with syrupy pineapple pieces. Despite the reserved porkiness of the meat, the synthesis of chilli, spices, herbs and pineapple yielded a sufficiently bold blend of flavours to stimulate the taste buds.
For dessert, we ordered the “Platano Frito”. Partially immersed in a pool of sweetened condensed milk, slices of a crispy fried banana encircled a ball of homemade tamarind ice cream. The subtlety of the sweet and sour ice cream helped to counterbalance the sweetness of the other ingredients, and by doing so, provided for a delicious and uniquely flavoured finish to our meal.
Mamasita is another addition to Melbourne’s trendy informal dining scene where tapa-styled food is served in a dual bar and restaurant setting. You will be familiar with this composition if you have dined at establishments such as MoVida, Cumulus and Coda. Equipped with food to dazzle and an unpretentious backdrop that is amenable to Melbourne’s casual dining culture, Mamasita certainly has potential to survive through its current fad and continue to prosper in the long term.