On the tail end of last week and at the top of a secret staircase, Mamasita played host to a Mexican tour as part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. The six course tequila-paired feast, showcased menu favourites alongside more experimental items. Head chef Scott Edington and his culinary crew, used the night to exhibit just why Mamasita holds its seat in Melbourne’s higher echelons of restaurants. The pre-booked and sold out event offered a different experience for patrons: not having to line up for tables and having your name on the door proved a welcomed novelty. The lack of foot-traffic gave floor staff ample time to attend to each and every patron’s desire – put simply, they were showing off.
Just before six o’clock and with an empty restaurant, Nick Peters, Mamasita’s affable manager laid down the game plan to the floor staff. He stood before his team, eyes sparkling, lips curled and said, “have some fun with it”. The one centimetre rule between plated items was enforced and tables were left as neat as the customers arriving in their Sunday’s best. Everyone was soon offered sangria or a salt -rimmed Mountain Goat Steam Ale version of a michelada, spiced with habanero pepper, lime and a hint of smoke, to begin the evening.
Totopos tortilla chips with guacamole accompanied by Highland and Lowland tequila from Mexico woke up the taste buds before the simple yet revered char-grilled corn on the cob, began the courses.
Bite sized tostaditas of crab with tamarind mayo next to pulled braised goat rilletes came next before al pastor style pork and pineapple flauta rolls accompanied by coriander and a fine avocado purêe, aka ‘taco shop guac’. The middle course saw seasoned seafood tacos swimming out with fat wedges of lime and garnished with the finest sprinkles of spice.
The dining was then bridged by an intermission, initiated by Peters, who promised that tequila was best kept to sipping over a meal rather than downed in a one motioned consumption. Because, as a show of hands admitted, everyone has had a bad night on tequila.
Swordfish in coconut milk that had been cured in lime juice played the palate cleanser and soon after came the main. Habanero pork belly, pickled cactus salad, Mexican truffles with corn and garlic prawns…showing off, right? And Peters was on key, the tequila was too good not to savour. The favourite being the reposado of darker Heradurra that was aged in bourbon barrels for chocolate accents.
Dessert was a delicate custard flan flavoured by the infamous Tonka bean, that is banned in some countries for being lethal; albeit in larger doses. Shaved into flan, its vanilla flavouring complimented the silky custard whilst the spiced side of chocolate truffles kept Mexico on the mind.
Mamasita coined the night “A Mexican Tour” and the degustation definitely accomplished the feat of holding our hands through a Mesoamerican flavour safari. Sunday night was the first degustation event Mamasita had put on and with its success, they’re looking at doing the same thing next year. If so, getting a ticket is a must; if only to experience what this restaurant is capable of when given an excuse to parade its skills.
Level 1/11 Collins Street, Melbourne
Ph: 0396 503 821
Open 7 days per week 12pm till late.