No-one can deny that there is a huge amount of fuss about Mamasita. Does it live up to the hype? Not exactly. Not wishing to spend 20 minutes waiting for a table, I’d organised a group visit (8-10 people) for a Wednesday night almost a month in advance, ordering the $55 pax banquet menu. I felt rather gleeful walking past the very long line up the stairs to the first-floor restaurant.
We were immediately hit by a wave of noise. I’ll warn you now, this place is loud and busy (perhaps expected) and not the place for intimate conversation. Shouting across the table seemed to get the conversation going though. It wasn’t too long before we were stuffing our faces with food though. First up, perhaps the best corn you’ve ever tasted.
“Street Style” Chargrilled Corn with Queso, Chipotle Mayonnaise & Lime
Amazing. Soft and juicy with a kick of heat from the chillies, I wanted to devour the entire plate myself. Unfortunately, the rest of the dishes just didn’t quite live up the standard this brilliant starter set.
Next to arrive were the Tostadita boards, consisted of tiny round corn tortillas, fried in the oil with a variety of toppings.
With a fuzzy memory to accompany fuzzy photos, I recall vegetarian black-bean, chicken and beef renditions of the dish. I quite liked the vegetarian version, but the other two didn’t strike me as being particularly interesting.
Next up, more street-style food, the easily recognisable tacos and quesadillas.
While the banquet menu stated that the course would have two types of tacos plus one type of quesadilla as per chef selection, the presence of vegetarians meant that we had two of each. There were vegetarian black bean tacos, and chicken tacos, and vegetarian and chicken quesadillas. While the food was good, I was getting a little bored by the similar tastes on offer, and had a hankering for something completely different. Pity that the next course didn’t exactly deliver.
See. More chicken. To make things worse, the dish was rather bland and suggested that the chicken had been marinated for nowhere near long enough. In all honesty, I prefer the Nando’s Peri-Peri chicken (extra hot of course) over this. The vegetarian main was much nicer though.
Mains: Chickpea patties with Mushrooms and Sweet Potato
The chickpea patties (not chicken!) were soft yet held together well. The standout wasn’t the patties though, but instead, the juicy mushrooms and the sweet potatoes. I tried my best to hide the fact I was actively searching for these under the patties, but I think someone might have noticed. No matter though, they were much happier in my belly than on the plate.
So, after a rather disappointing main course, we were served the dessert of ice-cream and flourless chocolate cake.
Ice-cream with Caramelised Popcorn
The ice-cream was smooth and creamy, but I wonder about the addition of popcorn. Not particularly tasty, these too dry adornments really weren’t to my liking.
The flourless chocolate cake was pretty damn good though and perfectly light.
Flourless Chocolate Cake
The knife was there so that we could split the five pieces between eight people. Really? Surely they could have just given us four and made life easier. I ended up with an entire one to myself, so I shouldn’t complain, but the mathematical side of me likes things to be neat. 5/8 is not neat.
As for drinks, Mamasita keeps with the theme by offering a large range of tequilas, Mexican beers, and the curious concoction known as the Michelada consisting of beer, lime juice, tomato juice.
Not my cup of tea, but the drinker liked it enough to order a second. They must be doing something right with that combination!
All-in-all, overhyped. I’ve been told there are better Mexican restaurants down St Kilda way, but I’ll only be able to back that up when I go and try them out myself.
Level 1, 11 Collins, Melbourne
Mon-Wed 12pm-12am, Thu 12pm-1230am, Fri 12pm-2am