Level 1, 11 Collins St, Melbourne - ph: 9650 3821
Is there a better way to catch up with a girlfriend for some drinks, nibbles and a lot of chatting than a trendy 'tapas style' Mexican bar? As soon as we walked into Mamasita, we instantly got into its bustling vibe.
Although it was around 6.30pm on a week night, all tables had already been taken, so we started our meal at the bar while watching the barman prepare our drinks.
Bar - impressive Tequila collection
First course was a complimentary serve of sweet corn covered with epazote (or Mexican tea) and manchego cheese (a special type of fresh goats cheese), lime and chili. I have actually cooked this dish before at home using parmesan, but this one was specially good with the salty cheese. I LOVED the cheese.
Sauteed sweet corn, epazote, manchego cheese, chili & lime
I was looking forward to try the ceviche but found it pretty disappointing. The lime flavor was overwhelming and completely took over the other elements. I could barely taste the coconut milk. The fish was beautiful though, but I struggled to enjoy it properly under so much acidity.
Ceviche: market fish with green tomatoes, mint, lime & coconut milk ($12)
'Tostaditas' came next. Under the recommendation of the barman, we ordered pickled octopus with green chili, coriander & lime and fish with lime, guacamole & serrano chili. The dish looked beautiful and tasted great. The octopus was incredibly tender and a standout. Guacamole was also very good.
Tostaditas - choice of two, 4 per serve ($20)
Our final seafood dish for the night was prawn tacos marinated with serrano chiles & chipotle
almond salsa. Also delicious, very fresh and light. We finished them in a second.
Tacos de camaranoes - 3 per serve ($18)
The serves were pretty small and we were quite greedy, so decided to order some more dishes to try (what sacrifices I must do in the name of food blogging :)
Quesadillas de chorizo with braised potato, chipotle salsa & queso fresco were served steaming hot with some more of that yummy, melting fresh cheese.
Quesadillas de chorizo ($14)
Quesadillas de chorizo - braised chorizo with melting cheese
And lastly, Plantanos machos - fried plantains, salsa & queso freso. I know this sound a bit odd and my friend simply couldn't get it, but this was my favorite dish for the night. The plantains have such an unusual texture; it's just really different. They were very crispy, salty and served with some more cheese! I could it a bowl of it (probably not, it's really filling) but this is definitely one of those things that you keep reach for another one... and another one.
Fried plantains, salsa & queso freso ($4.5)
Overall, we really enjoyed our meal, except for the ceviche. Although it seems like a lot of food for two people, all dishes (err, maybe not the plantains...) were really light and we didn't feel stuffed at all at the end. Such difference from the heavy and oily Mexican food served in other restaurants.
Word of advice: we started our meal at the bar and were then transferred to a table. I suggest you ask to stay at the bar (you can comfortably eat there). The dinning area is a bit too crowded and REALLY noisy. We could perfectly hear the conversations on the tables next to us and it was kind of hard for us to talk. The bar was so much better.