This blog has moved to http://multiculturalmelbourne.com/
Multicultural Cuisine of... Mexico
Multicultural Cuisine of... Mexico
462 Lygon St,
(03) 9384 6153Around 3 years ago, my best friend and I decided we should go out for dinner with our boyfriends. We're both Italian, and as such, usually go out for a pizza. But this weekend, we felt like something a little different, and she asked me if I knew any good Mexican places. Real Mexican though, no Mexican-by-numbers stuff. I didn't.
So, I jumped on Google and searched for one. What I found was a little bar on the Brunswick end of Lygon St, which had opened relatively recently, boasting an absurd number of Tequilas (over 100 varieties) and real Mexican food. I sent Poo a text with the address, and we decided to give it a go - after all, if we didn't like it, we were already on Lygon St and could go for a pizza later.
We walked into the dark, quiet little place called Mi Corazon (my heart, or my sweetheart in Spanish), wedged between a supermarket, travel agent, gift shop, and Fijian grocers. There weren't a heap of people in there (it was only 6:30pm), so we settled ourselves in a couch-booth at the front of the bar and ordered a drink. We eventually made our way to our table and ordered, then scoffed our dinner. Verdict? We've been regular customers there ever since, and we take any and every opportunity to get back!
It'd been a while since our last visit, so we decided one of our infamous "Tequila Bar nights" was in order for the Queen's Birthday long weekend. In honour of her majesty the queen, we would eat Mexican food, drink Tequila, and be merry. And possibly a little hungover. So, Sous-Jeff and I gathered a few of our good friends, Ms Em, EJ and Gazelle, as well as my little sister Stinky, and her boyfriend decided they'd come along for dinner before the beverages began.
We arrive at Mi Corazon to be greeted with a smile and a wave from Ash, our favouritest bar tender in the world. After reading some reviews for Mi Corazon on Urban Spoon, I was absolutely shocked to read that one reviewer was unimpressed by the "rude service" and "snooty staff." From our very first visit, when no one knew us there, we've been treated like family. In fact, on our first visit, the bar's owner, Chrissie made time to come over and say hello to us and wished us a great evening. On our next few visits, she made time to talk to us over a drink at the bar to tell us how her bar came to be and all about the different Tequilas. A few visits later, we met Ash, and he's been amazingly kind to us too and always makes time to tell us about his latest travels, ask us how we've been and why we haven't visited sooner. We're "regulars" at Mi Corazon now, and we keep going back because of the great customer service and friendly faces, as well as the great food!
|Loooooove this picture :)|
This time, we're seated right near my favourite art work in the place, which I take as an omen that it's going to be a great night. We're each passed a menu by Ash, and introduced to our waitress, Alex, Ash's housemate. We have a token flick through the menu; I say token, because we all already know what we're ordering. Between the lot of us, we've tried most things on there, but we all have our favourites now - it just happens to be that we all have the same favourite!
|Nachos with cheese, jalapenos (removed), guacamole, sour cream and home made salsa, $15.50|
Stinky and the BF order the nachos (they're running a little late for dinner and just want a bit of a snack). For $15.50, they might sound a little pricey, but they're definitely enough to feed two. Delicious, and a must to start dinner with (or to nibble on later in the evening over a few cocktails).
|Elote - corn on a cob seasoned with chilli, lime, mayo and cheese, $6.00|
Ms Em, EJ and I all have one thing on our mind to get started - the corn. We had it last time, and we'll have it again next time. It is absolutely amazing, tastes like nothing else I've ever had before. The combination of the creaminess of the mayo and cheese, and the bite of the lime and chilli is just perfect, and before long, we're all licking mayo off our faces, picking corn out of our teeth, and grinning like little kids.
Out come our matching main dishes, and Gazelle is the only one who's ordered something different to the rest of us.
|Pollo con Salsa Mole, $22.50|
The Gazelle fell in love with this dish a year or so ago - he couldn't believe his luck - Mexican food with chocolate sauce. Wow. Although this dish has changed a little since the last time we were here and he ordered it (it was more a burrito style arrangement, drenched in the mole), he was still incredibly excited to have it placed down in front of him. The dish consists of strips of chicken breast covered in mole (a salsa made from chocolate, chile, nuts and spices), and served with black beans and a side salad. The Gazelle mentioned that the chicken was a little dry, but the mole was as magnificent as ever, and he will certainly be ordering this again - well worth the trip down from Hepburn Springs!
The rest of us get ready to tuck into our meals...
|Tacos Campechanos, $25.00|
These are the most magnificent, spectacular, mouth-wateringly good Mexican food I have EVER eaten. Ever. And I've eaten quite a bit of Mexican food. For the mere sum of $25, you get three pieces of heaven - soft corn tortillas filled with grilled chorizo and beef strips, topped with onion and coriander, with a side of guacamole (which I'd happily eat from a bucket with a spoon, coz it is THAT good!) and home made hot sauce (which Sous-Jeff plucks off my plate upon arrival).
What's so good about the Campechanos that inexplicably has (almost) the entire table order it, and out waitress to say "I don't blame you, it's the best thing on the menu"? The tortillas are soft, the meat is tender, the onion and coriander compliment the meats perfectly, and the guacamole is heaven. Put them all together, and it's a party in your mouth.
About now, the live music kicks in, our meals have been wolved down, and the rest of our party arrives. With our dinner bill settled, we return to "our" booth, cocktail menus in hand, and get comfortable for a long night of Mexican beer, Tequila cocktails, and quality time talking with some of our best friends and family. Don't get the wrong impression - we don't come here to get blind drunk and run a muck - we come here because there are no drunk idiots being loud and annoying, there's no super loud music that you can't hear yourself think over, there's not so many people packed in that you're shoulder to shoulder with the sweaty stranger behind you, and there are no rude bar staff. After a few hours of laughing, talking, and cocktail consumption, we get up and head towards the door. Ash calls me over before we leave; "It was so good to see you all again! And don't you forget to email me tomorrow!" With a promise of a return visit very soon, I walk out with a smile on my face, knowing that I'll be back soon to this little bar that really does feel like home. And it'll feel like home to you too, even if you're not yet a regular - just give it a chance :)
Would rate it 10 out of 10.
How about you, readers? Any favourite eating holes that just feel like home to you?