Thursday, May 20, 2010


Mexican is definately not one of my favourite types of food, infact I've eaten it once before at a restaurant that shall remain nameless in Richmond. Which from my understanding was until this year, the best in Mexican food that Melbourne had to offer. When I went to the Richmond Mexican nameless restaurant, we were served, boring, tasteless, overpriced crap, that didn't inspire me to ever eat Mexican again!
That was until I'd heard about a place that had recently opened in Melbourne's CBD, that was apparently going to blow my mind and completely change the way I thought about Mexican food. Introducing Mamasita!

Mamasita is a brand new Mexican restaurant that was opened at the Spring St end of Collins St in February this year. The room is on the first floor and is NOISY!! We arrived and the place was full. They don't take bookings, so first come, first served. We had to wait at the bar for about 15 minutes, but soon after that we got a table. We found it almost impossible to talk between the two of us - even across the little table - that's how loud it is. You are also seated almost shoulder to shoulder with the people at the table next to you, which is kind of annoying and intimate in completely the wrong way. When there are those brief moments of quietness in the room, you can hear everything the people next to you are talking about.
So, Mamasita is going to blow my mind, hey? Let's see how we go.

We took recommendations from our waitress as we knew next to nothing about Mexican food. So we ordered a series of different soft shell tacos, meats and stew type dishes.

We started off with some tacos. The AlPastor. Pulled pork, pineapple, white onion and coriander ($14 for 3). The meat in these was dry! The only saviour was the pineapple, which added some moisture to the dish. The dryness of the soft taco 'shell' didn't help the overall dryness along at all.

Next was de Cordero ($14 for 3). This was lamb with Pulled Lamb with shallots and basically a salsa verde. These ones didn't have much taste on their own and the lamb was very boring, however add the Mexican Salsa Verde and you've got yourself a tasty taco!

Next we tried a Qaesadilla. Basically two soft shell taco fried flat with some filling between. We went with the 'de Pollo' ($14). Again, nothing exciting here. The chicken was infact so lacking in taste or moisture that we seriously considered sending it back. We didn't though. We thought we'd see how our final two dishes were.

Our mains that we ordered were Chicken Mole ($18) - apparently one of the most popular dishes in Mexico, so our waitress tells us. As you can see by the photo, it looks boring and it's about as interesting as it tasted. There was a hint of chilli in there, but that was it.

Finally we ordered the Chipotle Glazed Pork Ribs ($18), with a side of Papas ($7).

I'm not even going to begin to tell you how disappointing this meal was. It did not blow my mind. The only thing that did, was the hot chilli sauce on the table! The meats were dry, the sauces were boring. I seriously don't know what the hype is about. But hey, maybe it's just me. When we were leaving, there was literally a line going all the way down the stairs and out the door. So, maybe this is a case of it being all about the public hype. Or maybe I was just there on a bad night. Or maybe, I really just don't like Mexican food - no matter how good it is.


penny aka jeroxie said...

It is hard to find someone else that feels that Mamasita is boring and tasteless. high 5. I didn't like it either. But I thought also what do I know about mexican food to comment.

Anonymous said...

what a shame! This place had been high on my list of must-trys! I LOVE mexican! But maybe the hype has left them unable to cope with the demand?

Ruth said...

Yeah, I was majorly let down by Mamasita. Way overhyped. I haven't been to Mexico, but have eaten a fair bit of "proper" Mexican food in the States.

It may not be as "authentic", but frankly, I'll take a taco from Trippy Taco over the one I ate at Mamasita any day. They're fresh, well-made and full of flavour, which is what (in my humble opinion) good Mexican food is really about.

Jetsetting Joyce (MEL: HOT OR NOT) said...

I actually really enjoyed my meal at Mamasita. I didn't have to wait for a table (9pm Tues night), the service was super friendly and the food was fresh and tasty, especially given that we were limited to vegetarian options as I was dining with a vego.

I'm no expert on Mexican food but it was the kind of fare that I've eaten at Wahaca in London, which is kind of what Mamasita is based on. Really wholesome with a great combination of flavours.

I didn't blog it because none of my photos were acceptable (such dark light!) but I would definitely have given it a HOT.

Jetsetting Joyce

Adski said...

Hey Joyce, as far as mexican goes, I don't have a lot of experience eating it or cooking it. So other than that mexican on Swan St richmond, I have nothing to compare it to. It was definately better than the Richmond mexican, by far. The flavours were much better, but that said, the flavours and textures seemed to be very lacking at Mamasita.
It honestly could be that it's just not my thing. But my dining partner on the night was a fan of Mexican and she wasn't too impressed either.
The food there can't be that bad, considering the amount of people that visit there... maybe I just ordered badly or they were having a bad night.

Adski said...

I've heard a great deal about Trippy Taco, actually. I'm definately keen to check it out. Although it's right across from Rococo in hawthorn... tough decision!

Ruth said...

I think you're thinking of High Tech Burrito on Glenferrie Rd (I've heard good things, but never been. I believe it's part of an American franchise).

Trippy Taco is on Smith St (in the quieter-but-actually-pretty-awesome bit between Gertrude St and Victoria Pde. It's all vegetarian Mexican (by way of California). They use lots of fresh, house-made ingredients, like black beans, salsas, lime juice, pepitas, corn tortillas and avocado, alongside less "authentic" stuff like tofu, beetroot, soy cheese, sultanas, spicy fries, nachos, and nutella tacos.

It's definitely less sophisticated than Mamasita, but heh, maybe I'm just a simple gal: I'd rather stuff my face with a giant $8 tofu burrito made with huge and fresh (if not completely authentic) flavours than a bland and pissy little $5+ taco -- even if it's made with real cactus.

I've also heard pretty good things about Los Amates in Johnston St, though have never managed to get there.

You can also just go to Casa Iberica across the road and pick up some home-made tortillas, black beans, refried beans, chipotles, avocados, limes, queso fresco, spices and whatever else you like and make your own awesome tacos.

BTW, it's not that I thought Mamasita was BAD, per se, just a let down after all the hype: the food I tried was nothing special, a bit overpriced and the service was a bit shoddy and slap-dash.

Adski said...

Oh, you're right! High tech burrito is the one i'm thinking of. Bad sign that I can't tell my high tech burritos from my low tech tacos!

My thoughts on Mamasita's are exactly the same as your's - a let down after the hype. It's not so bad, but nothing special. And I think definately overpriced.

suzinoz said...

We visited Mamasita during their very first week. It was, as you said, extremely noisy and very, very busy. The kitchen couldn't handle the stress and our meals were very delayed. The staff were very friendly, but the food was a real let down. Some of our corn chips on one of our dishes were stale. Other dishes lacked any memorable flavour. I could put this all down to initial teething problems, but judging by your review, not much has changed. The atmosphere is uninspired and I found the menu a bit hit or miss. No value for money either. The only way I can explain the hype is that Melbourne is crying out for a great Mexican food restaurant and people are hoping this will be the answer. At the moment, Los Amates in Fitzroy remains the only Mexican restaurant worth visiting in Melbourne. The food there is tasty, humble and authentic. I'm a Texan who grew up 20 minutes from the Mexican border and I've been in Melbourne for 10 years and it's the only place I'll go back to again and again. It's also the only place I've known Native Mexicans in Melbourne to recommend. Give it a try and leave Mamasita for the try hards.

Libby said...

Hey there!

I was there this evening and I, too, was also disappointed. The whole experience annoyed me because the menu sounded intriguing and here I was, thinking that I would finally get to experience a whole new fresh take on Mexican food. Sadly, I also thought that my pork tacos were dry and lacking in flavour. I wouldn't rule out going back again though - we only had two dishes - but I'm still trying to get my head around the fact that it's so popular!

Sarah said...

Hi Adski,

Yay, finally someone else who feel the same way as I do about Mamasita, lol!! Really disappointing and overpriced, I thought. Also disappointed by its lack of authenticity - my Mexican friend who came with us was all "WTF!", haha. The food is definitely very restauranty and inauthentic!

Like Suzinoz, I quite like Los Amates, and apparently Maya in South Yarra is quite good, run by Mexicans.

"Leave Mamasita for the tryhards" - LOL!! Love it.

xox Sarah

Unknown said...

Long time fan, first time commenter... after reading all about your views on Mexican I have to admit I sat there reading your review and nodding my head emphatically. I am yet to have good Mexican food - anywhere. Including Mexico. I. Just. Don't. Like. It.

But I think I'm willing to travel to Bangalow for that amazing restaurant "Satiate"!

Anonymous said...

Good evening Adski,

Now now, how could you throw dirt at such a media darling. Even though it is noisy, hot (bad hot), noisy, has bad service, noisy and just plain not good, surely you can find nicer words for a restauarnt that, and I quote,' In an increasingly more educated culture, inspired by foreign travel and the experience of fast and fresh international staple foods, Mamasita is the forward thinking answer to the emerging popularity and awareness of authentic Mexican food and beverage.'

What a load of bollocks. The only people that are getting excited about Mamasita are the ones who can't get into MoVida or Bar Lourinha. Forward thinking answer to over glossed taco's and watery Mexican beer.

But wait, if Epicure said it cannot fail then it is sure to be a massive hit. Does Andrew McConnell have shares in it?


Mirella said...

YOU MUST try Bluecorn in St Kilda, please give it a go before you give up on Mexican food. And if you want a rec for what to order there I have tried everything on the menu and have not been disappointed. The tacos are not huge servings and I would probably try something else as a first timer. But honestly GO THERE!

BLUECORN, 205 Barkly St, St Kilda.

Adski said...

Thanks Mirella!
Will keep it in mind next time i'm in the Kilda.
Have you been to Mamasita? If so, what did you think?

Lauren aka Ms Baklover said...

Would you hate me if I told you I used to work at the Swan St Mexican restaurant, of which we will say no more?

Trust me, it is not that you don't like Mexican food. I haven't been to Mamasita but it is a cuisine that seems to be easy to stuff up. I have eaten a lot of fabulous Mexican food, but only when in the States.

Not sure if you are in Melbs but did you read Epicure's review of Los Latinos in Maidstone - sounds great and perhaps worth checking out!