1/11 Collins Street
+61 9650 3821
I love Melbourne and I love food. I love it even more when the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival is on. When I stalked researched their website and found out that Mamasita was holding a dinner event and that you could book for a table, I leapt on it like a starving emaciated hyena and called frantically to get a reservation for 2.
Mamasita’s contribution to MFWF 2013 is titled “A Mexican Tour” and features tequila appreciation with a matching Mexican feast. My recollection of enjoying tequila brings me back to student days of downing 2-4 tequila shots within an hour at Seven (almost) every Friday night.
We rocked up slightly early on a balmy Sunday evening. A crowd had gathered, and patrons were patiently waiting for the doors to open. At last, the clock struck and everyone started to climb up the famed stairs in an orderly fashion. The décor in Mamasita stuck true to her name: a feminine bikini-clad lady with a sultry smile is sprawled on the backdrop, eyes beckoning. What I found more sexy, was the impressive bar that stretched opposite the seductive lady, filled to the brim with spirits, including 175 varieties of tequila and mezcal.
We started the evening with nachos and guacamole, and a spicy sangrita. The nachos were light, sweet and crunchy; a perfect spoon for the chunky guacamole. I loved the chilled soup, it was like slurping at a more wholesome version of Tabasco, only hotter due to the kick from the possible Habaneros peppers.
Our tequilas were introduced and we were told to sip slowly and savour the nuances between the Herradura, which was produced in the Lowlands, and that of the Tapatio, which was from the Highlands. Like wine, tequila is complex and has several bodies to appreciate: the colour, the smell, the taste, and the finish. I will be honest and admit that my senses were simply overwhelmed by the alcohol. The Angmoh, being an admirer of whiskey, was able to detect the cleaner lighter tones in the Herradura and the herbaceous, grassy flavours of the Tapatio. I simple stuffed my face with the glorious food that poured out of the kitchen.
Our next entrée was what, I was told, everyone ordered when they managed to get a table at Mamasita. It was a grilled corn on the cob, accompanied by lashings of queso, chipotle mayo and lime. Even though The Angmoh and I weren’t huge fans of corn (I tend to avoid it like the plague as it brings back memories of overeating it as a child and purging it out of my system in an un-mentionable fashion), we still had a taste. I could appreciate the sweetness of the fresh corn, chargrilled and laced with mayo, spice and zest, and managed to eat almost half of my serve.
A couple of tostatidas came next: fresh crab with avocado, and braised goat. This was quickly followed by a blue eye taquito and cigars of pork and pineapple.
I really enjoyed the next dish: the ceviche had cubes of kingfish cured perfectly by lime and green chilli. By then, we were getting quite full, and were only to be informed that our mains would be served just minutes away.
4 plates came too quickly: grilled prawns with garlic chips on almond cream, unctuous pork belly that simply melted in your mouth, earthy mushrooms cooked with corn and some fresh greens. The meats were divine. Both prawns and pork belly were cooked to perfection; the former was succulent and had a firm bite, while the latter was moorish and tender.
Although our bellies were painfully full, we managed to squeeze dessert in. The chocolate in the truffles were of excellent quality and I particularly loved the nut/popcorn brittle on the flan. The flan also had good texture, being soft without having a gelatinous or grainy feel on the palette.
Our experience at Mamasita was certainly enjoyable. There were lots of food and lots of tequila. We’ll certainly attempt to do a re-visit, but possibly avoid peak dining periods and the prospect of lining up for 1-2 hours. It was a privilege to get in on this special night, thanks to the MFWF.