Even if you possess only a modicum of Melbourne restaurant knowledge, you'd be aware of the uber, crazy, insane hype surrounding Mamasita. To be honest, if you have read The Age or caught a tram/train in the past year, then chances are you've read about or overheard adoring reviews of Mamasita. Open since February 2010, Mamasita has been in the (foodie) headlines for two reasons: its authentic Mexican cuisine, and the no booking policy which sees prospective diners waiting for hours (but really!) for a table.
Skeptical is my default setting, and I couldn't understand how a year later Mamasita's scorching status was still going strong. My sister G was in town for a few days, so we figured we'd see what all the hype was about. Arriving at an almost unreasonably early hour for dinner (five), we nabbed two seats overlooking the Collins Street rush hour with little trouble.
Ceviche de atún - yellowfin tuna, blood orange, avocado, pickled jalapeno, lime, coriander and toasted sesame seeds ($16) followed. Ceviche is traditionally a Latin American dish containing raw fish and served in a semi salad, semi soup style. The flavours were bold, lip-pucker-inducing and addictive; the texture of the fish was firm and intriguing. Very refreshing!
And...dessert. For there is always dessert when you eat with me! We settled for the Frituras de manzana - apple fritters, vanilla pear sorbet ($9) and the Pastel de chocolate - flourless chocolate cake, white chocolate and tequila sauce and PX jelly ($11).
A brief and somewhat irrelevant aside: I used to think Pedro Ximenez (PX) referred to the name of a person and not a type of sherry. I could never understand why this 'guy' was constantly popping up all over menus and in restaurants. Luckily for me, a waiter cleared my misunderstanding through fits of laughter a year or two ago. Makes for a good in joke with the sibling, I s'pose.
We left at seven pm, and by that point, there was a fairly considerable line snaking down the stairs. (On a Wednesday night too!) The food is definitely the kind you'd be willing to travel and wait for, but I'm not sure my patience would hold out for hours in a city like this. Though, those quesadillas were damn good...
Tip: As they say, 'go early or late, or be prepared to wait!' Going early equates to around five pm, and late is probably around ten pm.
Level 1, 11 Collins Street