108 Hoddle St
Abbotsford, VIC 3067
If you’ve kept an eye on my Sydney arc, you’ll have noticed that my old man gripes largely revolve around the lack of good Mexican/Spanish food, and terrible commutes. So it makes sense that one of my first meals back in Melbourne is at The Happy Mexican, even if the Hoddle St location is not super convenient from where I am. Though it’s not quite the same calibre as the likes of La Tortilleria (who supplies their tortillas!) or Hotel Jesus, it’s still a nice little place to grab a bite, especially if you’re after a hefty burrito, or a wide range of tacos.
Rating: 12.5/20 – taco town.
To-order: carnitas tacos.
Yes ordering a couple tacos each is great and all but why do that when there’s the option of the Taco Platter ($42), which comes with your choice of 6 tacos, plus a side of guac, salsa, and (shudder) sour cream. So naturally, I ordered one of everything. Big props to the Al Pastor, which had a deliciously smoky, porky flavour that went super well with the pineapple. And there was no faulting the generosity of the Pescado, which was almost absurd in its size, but was nonetheless impressively light and crispy, and delicious with the spicy mayo.
My pick of the night would be the Carnitas, which despite looking plain, was packed full of fatty, porky flavours. Chris’ pick on the other hand was the dangerously saucy Jalisco Birria, oozing decadently with traditional Northern Mexican spices.
The Aguachile Toastada ($12.5) was touted as the ‘THM Signature Dish’, and it was good, though pretty much impossible to eat. The crispy tortilla was topped with so much stuff it was more like a salad with a large chip at the bottom, but the refreshing combination of prawn with sweet tangy green apple and pickled cucumber was a good one.
For dessert, it has to be the Elote Sticky Cake ($13), which was decadently dense, and interspersed moreishly with chewy corn kernels. Make sure to drizzle the cajeta (sort of like dulce de leche) over the ice cream.
The Horchata ($7.5) here is not bad, but it’s definitely more watered-down than I would like.