128 Mitchell St
Maidstone, VIC 3012
Melbourne is the greatest. Even after all these years, it continues to surprise me with just how unique and eclectic it is. If you ask me, it’s pretty great being able to experience different cultures from all around the world without shelling out for plane tickets and accommodation. In related news, did you know it costs $350 each to fly to Gold Coast and back? And that’s off-peak, on the budget-est airline I could find!
One of the slightly more exotic options Melbourne has to offer is Latin American food. Being a cousin of Mexican food, things like corn tortillas, salsa, and a generous hand with herbs and spices feature prominently. However the overall result is heartier, with a bit of Tex-Mex thrown in. And how did I find all of this out? By having dinner at Los Latinos.
When it comes to ambience, Los Latinos has it going on. The restaurant is lavishly decorated with flowers, hand-made trinkets, and an entire wall of photographs. The vivid crimson curtains can be seen all the way across the road. But instead of feeling busy, the restaurant gave off a sense of peaceful conviviality.
I was almost tempted into getting the Chorrillana Valpariaiso – fries topped with eggs, onions, chorizo, and beef (!) – before remembering that almost every review I read had said good things about the Pupusas ($6.5, 2pcs). So I convinced myself that fries topped with delicious delicious steak probably isn’t that good anyway, and sunk my teeth into these hot tortilla pockets.
In the centre of these fragrant tortillas was a mash of beans, cheese, and pulled pork. They tasted like Mexican pizza pockets, and even more so when you dip it into the spicy tomato broth on the side. For those of you who want a little more pop, the crunchy pickled cabbage will do the job.
I never have enchiladas, so I got the Mexican Enchiladas ($13). It’s at least a little more exciting than tacos.
This was an oldie but a goodie. The tomato sauce-soaked tortillas held a mix of tender chicken pieces, cream cheese, and subtle herbs. It was baked until soft, and then served with sides of refried beans, rice, and a dollop of sour cream. It doesn’t get much more comforting than this.
What we were both really drooling for was the Guanacos Carne Asada ($26), a massive plate of steak (covered in spicy cheese sauce), Spanish chorizo, tortillas, salad, beans, and rice.
Everything about this plate was perfect. The scotch fillet was cooked medium rare as requested, the juicy meat stamped with smoky grill marks. The tiny chorizo packed a hit of flavour in its snappy casing, and I couldn’t help but admire how supple and soft the hand-made tortillas were. This is definitely the biggest, baddest one-plate dinner in town.
There’s always something undeniably lovely about home cooking, and that’s exactly what you get at Los Latinos, minus the washing up. Even Chris remarked that I picked my boyfriend badly, because I could be eating food like this every day if I had South-American in-laws. I may like being slim, but I can’t say how good my resolution to stay healthy would be if I were faced with food like this every day.
Rating 14/20 – mi casa su casa.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.