Last Taco for 13563km


1/11 Collins Street, Melbourne 

tostaditas de carnitas
He says
Mamasita is the 800 pound gorilla of the Mexican food scene in Melbourne. If you’ve seen the 68 reviews on urbanspoon, or the daily queue of eager diners outside its unassuming doorway on Collins Street, it’s pretty hard to ignore. It is popular for a reason, but here is our experience.

The Boss, his lovely girlfriend and I arrived at 5:30pm on a Friday, to a queue already snaking out the door. The maitre d’ was very friendly, and after taking down my details said he’d call me back when they had a table ready between 7:15 and 8:15.  A little late, but with Marg still stuck at the office I thought we could grab a couple of cheeky drinks at Lanes Edge. We meandered down and no sooner had we started sipping our drinks than the maitre d’ called and said that he’d have a table at 6:00 if we got the entire party there in 10 minutes. Not a problem for us, but Marg works down the other end of Collins Street. After I graciously accepted the time slot I called Marg and told her to run. Run Marg Run.

After stalking her little blue dot on Apple’s Find A Friend for an excruciating 12 minutes, she eventually arrived at the restaurant, a little hot and a lot bothered. You know that look, which your significant other gives you when you’re in big trouble.  That was the look she had. Oh dear.

After profusely apologizing to Marg and, much to her annoyance, waiting another 15 minutes, the entire party was luckily seated. Unfortunately, the table we got seemed to be only designed for three people, so the four of us were almost sitting on top of each other and the noise level resembled more of a night club than a restaurant. Ready for the bump and grind.

She says
For the last couple of months we’ve been on something of an accidental Mexican bender and no Mexican tour of Melbourne is complete without a visit to Mamasita.

I’ve been to Mamasita a couple times before and to be honest, I’m not the biggest fan. Much like HuTong I just think it’s a little over priced and over rated when you compare it to other Mexican restaurants around Melbourne (think Fonda Mexican, Trippy Taco, Los Amates etc). That’s not to say that the food is bad, the food is good, I’m just not convinced that it lives up to the hype. It is also very hard to live up to the expectations, and live down the frustration, that an hour and a half line creates.

This is where I would normally talk about the interiors or atmosphere of the restaurant but when we visited it was so busy, loud and hot that I couldn’t really see anything other than people and the waitress bringing me water.

A note on the food, the menu is (as everything seems to be these days) based on the idea of sharing a range of little dishes. There were four of us and when we ordered the waitress tried to talk us out of two dishes (a quesadilla and a salad) because she thought we’d ordered too much. Not the greatest up-sell technique I’ve ever seen. I’ve actually had the same issue every time I’ve visited Mamasita, the wait staff have either told me not to order any more food or have told me that I’ve grossly over ordered. When I’ve been shamed into ordering the recommended number of dishes I’ve left dinner feeling like I could do with a snack. Maybe I just eat too much and should take it as a hint, you be the judge.

We ate
We started with tortilla chips with guacamole and salsa ($9). The chips and the guacamole were good (although the chips aren’t as good as Trippy Taco’s), the salsa didn’t do a lot for me (and was well not as delicious as the salsa I had at Paco’s Tacos earlier in the week).

Tortilla Chips

We also had the tostaditas de carnitas – pork shoulder, encurtidos, jalapeno and chicharron (4 for $14). I’ve had these every time I’ve been to Mamasita and I think they are really delicious. One each is not enough.

tostaditas de carnitas

After the starters we decided to have a taco each. Two of us went for the fish taco with grilled fish, lime, achiote paste and red onion salsa ($6). I hadn’t had the fish taco at Mamasita before and I thought it was fine, but nothing to write home about.

Gerard had the pork taco with braised pork, pineapple, coriander and white onion ($5).

pork taco

 Our 4th had the veal & ox taco with veal tongue, ox cheek, pickled vegetable and ghost chilli mayonnaise ($6).

Ox taco with veal tongue

We shared two quesadillas, starting with the vegetarian quesadilla de huitlacoche – huitlacoche, mushroom, corn, epazote, queso criollo, pico de gallo and queso fresco ($14). I thought this was very tasty, probably a close second to tostaditas for the highlight of the night.

vegetarian quesadilla de huitlacoche

We also had the meatier quesadilla de cordero – braised lamb, queso criollo, mint and jalapeno herb sauce ($16).

quesadilla de cordero


From the mains section of the menu we shared the mole poblano con pollo – black mole with confit chicken ($26) served with a side of tortillas to mop up sauce with.  The chicken and the mole were fine, but again nothing super exciting.

mole poblano con pollo

We also ordered a side salad, the ensalada verde con nopales – mixed lettuce, cactus, cucumber, spring onion and oregano dressing ($7 small/$13 large). We were suckered in by the cactus, it sounded so exotic and interesting. It was not. I’ll definitely give this one a miss next time.

So, the real question, is a tostadita, a taco, half a quesadilla and a piece of chicken an outrageous amount of food for someone who hasn’t eaten lunch? I like to think it’s not, but it probably is.

Gracias por todo
It may have made Mexican cool, but for us it has lost some of its shine.

Mamasita on Urbanspoon

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