Mamasita | Mexican restaurant | Collins St | Melbourne Restaurants, Wine, Travel, Opinions

Restaurants and bars
Open: Lunch and dinner (6pm onwards) except Sunday
Price: Moderate

Reviewed By

Sue Dyson and Roger McShane
Phone Number: +61 3 9650 3821
Address: Level 1, 11 Collins St
Melbourne, Victoria, 3000
Country: Australia

Mamasita is a phenomenon and it is also a dining venue! Within minutes of the door opening the bar and tables are packed and a line forms on the unprepossessing stairs and spills out onto Collins St.
However once you are seated there is no rush and you will enjoy some well-cooked, nicely-flavoured Mexican food. You might like to start with one of the good range of Mexican beers such as the dark coloured Negro Modelo. This beer pours like a stout with a dark brown liquid and a slight foam. It looks like it is going to be strongly flavoured but it is quite elegant on the palate. There is quite a bit of complexity in the glass and some hoppiness but not a lot of bitterness on the finish.
We started at the bar with our beer watching the busty chefs in the open kitchen at the end of the room. Soon we were taken to a table where we ordered a range of dishes to share. First we ordered Ceviche de Yucatan but it never arrived during the course of the meal. This is one problem that you need to be aware of. This place is just frantic all the time and the staff manage admirably with the overly complex no-reservations-except-for-large-tables policy and the huge numbers they pump through, but in this environment mistakes will always be made.
The three soft tacos that we ordered were first to be served. One turned out to be a filling that we hadn't ordered (braised beef) but it was delicious and quite a complex flavour. When we mentioned the mistake to our waiter, two black bean and cactus tacos (our original order) arrived promptly along with profuse apologies. The other two were braised pork with pineapple which was very good and one containing veal tongue which was equally delicious.
The dish of the night, however, was one of the 'family-style' dishes of deeply-braised, darkly-coloured goat which was unctuous, flavoursome and very, very moorish.
A soft quesadilla with a filling of braised beef was flavoursome without having the wow factor of the previous goat dish.
Dessert was a platter with some fresh cheese, quince paste and dolce de lecce which was fine.
So, we really like Mamasita. It delivers some very good dishes in a chaotic atmosphere. The noise levels are very high, and the music is also played loud to be heard above the din, so it is not a place to head for an in-depth conversation. It is best described as a dining phenomenon where people feel they need to be there to see what the fuss is about. It is a valuable addition to the Melbourne dining scene.
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