Level 1, 11 Collins St 
Melbourne, VIC 
Revisiting old favourite restaurants scares me. Back in my very first days as a blogger, Mamasita was the restaurant that I loved the most (see here and here). In the two and a half years since I had last paid it a visit however, I’ve been deathly afraid that this hot babe has sizzled out to a lukewarm matron, thanks to my increasingly picky palate. So it was with a mixture of trepidation and anticipation that Chris and I arrived on a Friday afternoon for a casual, light dinner. And to think, Mamasita used to be a special-occasion-priced place for us back in the day! 
It’s good to see the Mamasita has stayed largely the same, from the relatively affordable prices to the items on the menu, and of course the huge line snaking down the stairwell by 5:30pm. However one thing I noticed was the change in wait staff; whilst they used to be chirpy and helpful, they now seem to spend most of their time chatting and determinedly avoiding our eyes, and were thoroughly unhelpful once we finally managed to catch their attention. Will the food be good enough to make up for the drop in service? Let’s see.

Elote Callejero ($4.9ea)
One of the dishes I was the most excited yet apprehensive to have again is the Elote Callejero ($4.9ea), the flagship grilled corn that started the love affair that swept through Melbourne like a storm. Blissfully, I discovered that these little babies were still the best ones around, the smoky chilli and generous shavings of queso fresco paving the way to sweet, charred corn kernels. 

Totopos Los Dos ($9)
The Totopos Los Dos ($9) were similarly enjoyable, the flaxen tortilla chips served with a duo of guacamole and salsa (por que no los dos!). Both dips were exemplary, the salsa fresh and smoky, and the smooth guacamole creamy with a light tang from lime and onion. And whilst I have had better tortilla chips (I’m looking at you, Bay City Burrito), these certainly weren’t an unworthy vehicle for the condiments.

Taco de Pescado ($6ea)
We ordered a pair of tacos, which were served with a dish of fresh green salsa. The first of the two was the Taco de Pescado ($6ea), a simple grilled fish taco. Simple it may be, this was a great deal more exciting than most of the tacos I’ve had, the fish marinated in a spice mix reminiscent of the Caribbean, enhanced with the richness of chipotle mayo and the bitter crunch of cabbage. 

Taco de Arrachera ($6ea)
The Taco de Arrachera ($6ea) was similarly delicious, the chunky slices of flank steak augmented with a smear of guacamole, salsa, and a squeeze of lime. The tortilla was infused with the wonderful fragrance of corn husks that lingered on my fingers for hours. 

Enchiladas de Queso y Papas ($17)
We finished out meal with a more substantial dish, the Enchiladas de Queso y Papas ($17), and it was nothing like we had expected. What we ended up with were mouthfuls of crunchy tortillas competing with fluffy pieces of potato rolled into its center, drenched in the pool of hearty black bean and chilli sauce. The faint whiff of goats cheese and piquant cress salad on top lightened things up considerably. Whilst rustic, this dish was also somehow extremely elegant, and greatly enjoyed by both of us, and the couple at the next table it seemed. 

Flan ($10)
Having only been moderately hungry, I was definitely done by this point, but Chris still had room for dessert, and who am I to say no? We both have a soft and wobbly spot for Flan ($10), and this one was no exception. Flavoured with tonka beans, this flan was a thick custard with flavours reminiscent of sweet almonds and vanilla, and just a hint of cinnamon. The scattering of crushed brown sugar and almonds were a great textural contrast to the slippery decadence of the flan.
I am extremely relieved and happy to find that whilst it is no longer a culinary wonderland, Mamasita is every bit as delicious and enjoyable as I had remembered. It was a shame that our meal was somewhat marred by the experience with the wait staff. This babe is still smokin’, but the service could really use some work.
Rating: 15.5/20 – babin’
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit. 

Mamasita on Urbanspoon

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