Sunday, March 11, 2012


If you haven't heard the word Mamasita thrown around town in the last year, then you obviously don't know any Melbourne foodies. Mamasita (Mexican) has all the elements of the 'it' restaurants in Melbourne at the moment- a long line, a no booking policy, a huge following and the 'shared' food trend.

I had heard mixed reviews on Mamasita. Similar to Chin Chin, it gets touted as amazing, and as completely pretentious and overrated. My experience, thankfully, fit in with the first category.

So, the way Mamasita works. If you want a table (especially on a Saturday night) you must get there by 6pm. When you arrive, and tack yourself onto the end of the line, you will be approached by someone who will put your name on a waiting list and you will be told an approximate time a table should become available. Then, you go off to one of the cool bars in the area, have a drink and wait for the phone call.

Our party of five arrived at 6pm and had a table by 7.30. A lot of people complain about this wait, but I didn't mind having a cocktail at Madame Brussels whilst we waited, and once in we were not rushed at all. I can tell you that it is an interesting experience squeezing your way up the staircase past all the sorry looking people waiting in line who are shooting you dirty looks, as you mutter, "We were on the waiting list..."

We were seated at a high table with stools and a friendly waitress gave us the rundown on how it works. Most of the food is sharing style.

We started with some chips with salsa and guac, which were yummy but no different to your run of the mill Mexican restaurant.

We then had the highlight of the meal, the Tostaditas de pollo and de carnitas. Basically, little bite size pieces of amazing flavours served on a large corn chip. When I go back to Mamasita, I think I will just eat 100 of these. So good!

Next, we tried a variety of soft tacos. The prawn and fish are particularly popular, and although light on filling, were really enjoyable. The accompanying cucumber and celery salsa was really amazing.

Another popular dish and one I really enjoyed was the corn on the cob. I know, corn on the cob- so simple.  But at Mamasita it is packed with flavour, sprinkled with butter, mexican seasoning and grated cheese. There is a reason why this is the most talked about corn in town!

Next we shared two mains, of which neither really impressed us. It wasn't that there was anything wrong with them, they were nice. Just compared to the flavours and textures of the tapas style sharing food, they didn't amaze us. We shared chickpea fritters with sweet potato and mushrooms, which were nice but a little soft. I imagine fritters as being crispier than these were. The goats cheese and squash enchiladas were nice but a little bland and lacked the punch of the other dishes. The chicken quesadilla was enjoyable but a little pedestrian compared to the rest of the food. If I was to go again I would order more of the smaller dishes and leave the mains.

Chickpea Fritters

Squash and Goats Cheese enchiladas
 Dessert was quirky and different. We had to try the ice cream cones that were going past our table in a cone holder. Sweetcorn icecream with caramel and popcorn in a waffle cone might sound strange, but the combination rocked. Definitely worth trying.

When shared, the food at Mamasita isn't all that expensive for its exclusivity. Between the five of us, five courses shared hit us up for about $35 a head. That was for HEAPS of food. The margarita's hit your hip pocket a little harder at about $16 each, but there are less expensive drink options.

Overall, Mamasita was an awesome experience. The funky vibe makes it feel as though you are eating dinner in a cool bar rather than a restaurant, so a little different to Chin Chin's 'diner' atmosphere. Also, the service we recieved was far from pretentious which was also different from Chin Chin's. A great place to spend a Saturday night chilling with friends- but remember, get there early!

L x x

Mamasita on Urbanspoon

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