24th June 2012
I am very Fonda Mexican food. Awful puns aside, I do count the traditionally fresh and bright flavours of this cuisine to be amongst my favourites. Guacamole, tostadas, ceviche, tacos – you name it, and I can’t get enough of it. So I was pretty stoked when I heard about this small Mexican cantina in Richmond that embraces the concept of a fonda – a family home turned restaurant, open to anyone passing by. ‘A place for the community to congregate and enjoy mama’s cooking straight from her kitchen’, says their website.
Getting into Fonda Mexican at lunchtime (and I assume dinner too) is a battle, but service is fast and friendly, and most of the crowd is here for take-away, so don’t let the queues scare you off. The food may be casual fresh Mexican but unlike Mamasita, there’s much less waiting and much more eating.
After ordering at the counter, I squeezed my way back to our table, clutching a generous jar of Horchata($4.5), which I’ve wanted to try ever since that Vampire Weekend song. This light and sweet brew was served with a shiny ice cubes and a whimsically retro straw. It tasted like vanilla ice cream in drink form, with a hint of cinnamon. It is SO good, on par with chocolate milk at the very least.
|Charred Corn ($3.5)|
I actually screamed PORK SCRATCHINGS!!!! when I saw it on the menu. No joke. It’s not often I have a reason to eat a whole packet’s worth of pork rinds so there was no way I was passing this opportunity up. The Chicharons ($6) were piled high in a big bowl and looking for the world like giant popcorn. They were airy, crunchy, and left a dusting of salt on our lips – all the things that are so good, but so, so bad. But they didn’t hold a candle to the guacamole they were served with; chunky and creamy with a generous squeeze of lemon, I may or may not have eaten it with my fingers once we ran out of scratching.
|Fish Taco ($6)|
|Braised Beef Brisket Taco ($5)|
|Mushroom Quesadilla ($12)|
By the time we got to the Mushroom Quesadilla ($12), we were already rather full, so it wasn’t the best time to be presented with the overwhelmingly decadent flavours of meaty mushrooms, corn truffle, and queso fresco. And whilst the freshly pressed tortilla (dough sourced from Abbotsford Convent Bakery no less) was smooth and pliant, the copious use of cooking spray has made them rather greasy. Not even the spicy sourness of the salsa verde could cut through the oil in this dish. An unfortunate end to our meal.