On my way back from a day trip to The Great Ocean Road and Otways, we wanted to stop by Torquay for lunch. Being later in the arvo, but still with plenty of people about, we came across Tapas Cafe. It’s a small-ish cafe but enticing nonetheless. Their menu is typical of many seaside cafes, but with a hint of Mexican cuisine on their menu.
Pictured above is their Sweet Chilli Fish with fresh salad and chips. Perfectly cooked fried fish with a sweet chilli sauce to match, it’s an interesting choice and it lets the fish flavour come through. The salad underdressed (not dressed at all) and with the fresh capsicum, I found it to be an odd addition as the salad was overall quite dry without any dressing. It may not be the best dish I’ve tasted, but definitely satisfactory.
The Quesadilla with corn and cheese and spicy guacamole and salad was great on the other hand. I loved the quesadilla with the melted cheese and corn, although quite thin it’s richness compensates for a filling meal. The guacamole I found lacked the avocado flavour but that may just be due to the avocados being more subtle in flavour. Tasty dish.
Tapas Cafe doesn’t appear to be too well known in Torquay but I think it offers something a bit different to your standard cafes or fish and chip shops which is welcomed warmly in my book.
9 Gilbert St
Torquay VIC 3228
Mamasita’s popularity never seems to die down. Almost every night, you will find a line forming down the stairs and out into Collins Street, Melbourne. What Mamasita specialise in is Mexican cuisine and catered towards a younger demographic as you will find in the restaurant it feels more like a bar or pub at night. Once you try Mamasita, you’ll understand why people keep coming back for more.
We ordered the Camarones gigantes al ajillo, which is basically their grilled prawns placed on a toasted garlic and green almond sauce with garnish. The prawns here are cooked to perfection, still soft inside and crisp outside, and not too dry. The thickened sauce adds to the complexity of the prawns. Probably my only con for the dish is the prawns size which are to be honest small for the price you pay ($28) and you only receive 5 or 6 prawns which seems more like an entree than a “Comida para la familia” (Larger sharing plates)
The Pancita de cerdo ($25) was probably my favourite of the night. Basically it’s Guajillo braised pork belly with habanero cream, fried parsley & dressed with lime juice. The pork belly was amazing, succulent and tender. How it should be. Complementing the dish with the preserved onions, sauce and slightly crunchy parsley it certainly is a delight to eat. I’d also say this was much more satisfying than the prawns.
You can’t go to a Mexican restaurant and not order either a taco or quesadilla. Here is their “de Cordero” ($16), inside the quesadilla is braised lamb with queso criollo (cheese) and with a mint & jalapeño herb sauce and served with a slice of lemon. The lamb here is tender even in its shredded form but I found the flavour from the lamb to be a bit lacking. The herb sauce which was similar to a pesto added much needed flavour to the dish.
As a side salad, we ordered Ensalada de quinoa ($10) aka Quinoa salad was a pleasant salad. The quinoa still had bite to it, and with the addition of fresh spinach, corn, coriander made this a winner.
Atmosphere wise, I’m not fond of restaurants where you have to shout to talk with the person next to you and this is the case here. The other downside is the dim lighting that is prevalent in many restaurants in Melbourne.
Other than that, I found the food on the balance of things to be delicious but for the price paid to be slightly over priced and especially so for the grilled prawns mentioned earlier. I can see the attraction to this place but it definitely isn’t my idea of a good evening. Would I come back? I might …but not anytime soon.
Level 1, 11 Collins St
Melbourne VIC 3000