Tonight I finally managed to cross something off my 101 in 1001 list - I finally dined at Mamasita. I have been wanting to go for so long and the opportunity arose when my friend was working on a client close by. We decided to meet at 5.40 in order to avoid the lines and we ended up eating at the bar which was quite fun as we got to watch all sorts of different drinks being made. By the time we left at about 6.40, the line was all the way down the stairs. The food at Mamasita was fantastic but I still struggle with the concept of waiting in line for a restaurant. I still do not think I would do it.
Ceviche de Yucatan - Market Fish with Green Tomato, Chilli, Mint, Lime & Coconut Milk - $8
Recently I have actually started to appreciate raw fish. I find I do prefer raw fish when it has some sort of sauce with it. This ceviche was mixed in a shot glass with the coconut milk and other flavours. The ceviche had a really refreshing flavour. As far as I understand it is meant to be a palate cleanser. Therefore, it would have been good to receive this after I had had a few courses. However, still very good. A couple of more corn chips would have been great to scoop out the fish.
Tostada de Pollo - Chargrilled Chicken, Avocado, Queso Fresco & Chipolte Mayonnaise - $14 for 4 pieces
These are mini tortillas with toppings. I found there was heaps of topping on the Tostada and mixed with a bit of hot sauce, these little bite size morsels were delicious. I like that these are quite small as it gives you an opportunity to try a couple of different flavours. I think I would have liked some extra avocado and perhaps a little bit less chicken to balance the ingredients out, but still a very good dish.
Hot sauce which I added to my Tostadas for a little bit of an extra kick!
Taco de Pescado - Grilled fish with Lime, Achiote Paste and Red Onion Salsa with Salsa Verde - $6 each
I was lucky enough to try a Mamasita fish taco at the Taste of Melbourne festival. I loved it so much that I know that I would have to order another when I finally got around to visiting. The fish in this taco was cooked perfectly. It fell apart, exactly what it should be doing. The waitress gave us some Salsa Verde to add to the tacos and this was a welcome additional, it gave the taco some additional flavour. I could have added some hot sauce but to be honest, I had been craving this for the past 3 months that I just ate it without thinking!
Fresh Salsa Verde
Sticky Pork Belly with Fried Parsley served with Red Onion and Lime - $25 for main dish
I love a bit of Pork Belly, however the friend I am dining with does not eat Beef or Pork so I knew I would not be able to share the dish with her. The waitress indicated that the main size would be ok for one person, however when it came out, I wish I had not have ordered it as I know I would not be able to finish it! The pork was well cooked and the sticky glaze was prominent as the pork was slightly stuck to the plate. Whilst I did enjoy the pork (and the white sauce which I am not sure what it was), the skin was not to my liking. I love the pork skin to be very crispy which it was not. The flavours were great but soft skin was a bit of a let down. I also did not manage to finish this dish.
My overall verdict of Mamasita was that all the dishes I tried were really good and were full of fresh flavours. I think because it was my first visit, I did over order but I wouldn't make that mistake next time. I think treating it in a tapas style by ordering a number of different entrees is the best way to tackle the menu. I don't think I would order any mains next time unless it was going to be shared. It is a very popular place which does not take any bookings for groups of less than eight. I would recommend getting there early for dinner (around 5.30) or having a late dinner. I think lunchtime would be a bit easier to get in but you would need to get there early. I arrived about 15 minutes before my friend and the waitress was happy to seat me at the bar and have a drink whilst I was waiting. I appreciated that because at a place like Chin Chin they would not even acknowledge you until the whole party is there.
I can see myself dining at Mamasita many more times but I will not line up for it. The food is great, but the whole lining up to get into a restaurant is something that I do not agree with. If restaurants are concerned about no shows, take a credit card number or something. For people that work full-time and have other commitments it is sometimes not realistic to wait in line to eat at a restaurant. That is what prevented me for so long actually dining here. Aside from that issue (which was a non-issue on the night) I really enjoyed Mamasita and genuinely believe it is the best Mexican that I have had in Melbourne.