Saturday, 4 August 2012

A(maize)ing

In 2013 we are heading to Mexico and their is no time like the other than to engorge ourselves in the fresh spicy cuisine and of course tequila. A Friday night seemed a perfect send off into the weekend, and the sounds of Spanish music was calling us to dine at Mamasita.

Not taking bookings for small numbers, we headed their early andas we were reaching the top of their stairway you could already hear that they are full. 5:00 pm and full, this must be good! Whilst waiting a short while we embrace all that is Mamasita. With it's warm cosy interior of bar and communal seating along with a small intimate dining area was was surly bustling with diners having a great time. Iron frames and metal work on the walls holding candle lite terrains makes for a simplistic and rich environment.

They say that Mexican street food is full of flavours that are unexplainable. Exploding with intense chilli flavours and bursts of citrus juices makes the cuisine mouth watering and exciting. You can't get much better than the freshness of Mexican using all wholesome ingredients together and balancing each and every mouth full. Mamasita's menu showcases a perfect reflection on Mexican street food, ensuring the fiesta is delivered in each and every bite. It was surly a party in my mouth.

To get into the spirit of things beverages were in order, so what to choose to??? Maybe something from the selection of Tequila? With 120 on offer, you could have a grand of grand experience (and perhaps a headache or two to follow once the sun comes up) trying the different styles from multiple locations in Mexico, but I head straight to a refreshing cocktail to ensure that I had somewhere to go just in case things get a touch too hot.

It was hard to choose our dinner this evening, as everything was enticing and mouth watering. Our lovely waiter was surly happy to guide us through each of the styles to assist us in our decision. Small starters, tacos, quesadilla and more substantial family dishes. Explained to be themed to share and to enjoy the fresh flavours was certainly something we were ready to do.

Starting with something they pride themselves of and see flying to almost every table was their corn on the cob "Elotes callejeros". Smothered in chipotle mayo, queso (cheese) and lime was perfect to start our evening. Not one to eat corn off the cob, for some reason I am that 1 person who sits there for hours cutting each kernel off the cob but not today. Paul thinks that in the 11 years we have been together this was the first time he's seen me hoe into it. This sweet juice char grilled corn was enhanced by the lightly grated queso and the chipotle hit was perfect, spray it with a little lime juice for ultra freshness surly got us excited about the rest of our dishes coming each way.

Now a hint to you all, if you get a lime wedge don't waste it use it. Not only are they expensive, and these guys must go through truck loads every day, but the fresh lime juice itself enhances the flavours that could be hidden in your dish.

The Tostaditas were so cute, little tiny corn chips  or flat taco were just perfect bite size delights. Choosing the de Cangrejo -  crab, avocado, cucumber, tamarid mayo and habanero. Hidden in these are bold flavours and watch for that habanero pepper hit too. If you can't handle the chilli heat, then I warn you that the chilli sweats are going to start. It surly made me heat up but they were irresistibly to good to stop.

Now how can you give up a taco when your eating Mexican food? Not I. Soft shell 6 inch tacos in 6 different flavours each full of great flavours and yes we did them all cause they were that delicious. The de Pescado - grilled fish, lime, achiote paste (a seed from an inedible fruit but is harvested for it's seeds), red onion salsa & chipotle mayo.  I am a fan of fish tacos and unlike others before it was filled with fish which made me happy and the almost rustic char on the flesh matching the elements of the chipotle and fresh lime made it a pleasure to devour.

de Lengua Cachete may be one that people tend to skip being braised ox tongue and cheek accompanied with pickled vegetables and ghost chilli mayo. I know some of you may be saying ewww gross or screwing up your nose at the idea, but don't knock it till you try it. You would be surprised in the flavours of this taco and can hardly recognise that you are eating tongue and cheek. The ghost chilli mayo was more the thing I was concerned about. With ghost chillies being the hottest chilli on record being scored at 330,000 - 1,000,000 on the scoville rating (the rating of which the peppers capsaicin oil is added to sugar in water until you can taste just a hint of heat). So I was a little scared but in actual fact it was mellower than expected, in fact a little disapointed that my head didn't explode as I anticipated. But all in all the flavours were bold and rich and the braised ox was a great modern twist you could say to the general meat tacos from lets say 'Taco Bill'.

My ultimate favourite though was the de Cabra - chipotle goat, cabbage and roasted sweet corn paste. The pulled or shredded goat in hints of chipotle was smoothed out with the creamy sweet corn and cabbage. No extra surprises of chilli bursts, just something smooth full flavoured and truly tasty.

A quick cleanse of the palate with some Ceviche of king fish coated in coconut milk, mint,, green tomato, chilli and lime.  It was smooth and defiantly got all those chilli explosions and strong flavours off our palates ready for dessert. I would recommend to do this also if you were choosing such large combinations of dishes.

The decision was made that dessert was to be something we would never find anywhere else which lead us to the Helado de maiz - sweetcorn ice cream served in a light cone topped with caramel popcorn. A great finisher to your meal if you feel like you've eaten too much but can't say no to dessert.  Smooth and flavoursome ice cream but not to powerful in corn flavour.

Another tasty treat is the flautas dulces de calabaza - blue corn flautas filled with pumpkin mousse and finished with praline. The blue corn flautas or cigars as we call them was such a unique flavour. Far from the usual corn chip flavour it was quiet addictive. smooth pumpkin cream bursting through the cigar shells and golden sweet praline over the top gave it texture and great complexity. Defiantly wont be finding this anywhere else, and by the looks of things this was a popular choice in the crowed tonight.

You can't end your night with out some spiced Mexican hot chocolate. Rich dark cocoa finished with some chilli spice, and with the added marshmallow which soaked up those chilli spice flavours made it even more enjoyable. So if you can't fit in the dessert at least finish with one of these, you wont regret it even if you feel like your going to be rolling out the door.

Service was fantastic through out the evening, even though they were under the pump while the line for a table was out the door and when I say out the door, it's down a flight of stairs and out onto the street. They truly gave a fiesta (party) in all aspects and standards were far beyond expectations.


Mamasita
Level 1, 11 Collins st
Melbourne
9650 - 3821

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