People in Melbourne seem to have this idea of Mexican food as Taco Bill/stodgy/cheesy/bean-filled/hard fried tacos/that generic burrito seasoning and mild salsa. Tex-mex. Not true, and Los Amates is testament to that. I instantly liked this inside the first time i walked in here, loud and convivial, colourful. There are blue flower tiles around the door frames and mantlepiece, ceramic suns on the walls, a giant mural of horses and warriors in cheetah skins, but my favourite are the paper cut-out bunting-style decorations.
On this occasion I was there with R, T, H, K and L. We started with nachos to share, and let me say they disappeared very quickly! The house-made mole sauce was particularly good. I should have taken a photo of about five hands all grabbing at it, it was quite the sight.
For mains, most of us had tacos. T and R had the lamb (see below), H had another kind of taco, K had what looked like a quesadilla (sorry K, I’ve forgotten exactly what you ordered, much like the kitchen did on the night!). And L….uh, honestly I was so engrossed in my tacos that I barely thought to look over at what L was eating (cue cheeky smile)! The lamb is called Tacos de Borrego con Pico de Gallo – braised lamb and onions with salsa. It look really good.
I had the tacos de Cochinita Pibil – braised shredded pork Yacutan style marinated with achiote and spices, with salsa asade and extra guacamole. The pork looks unpleasantly orange in the photo, but it was really good, especially with the tangy green salsa. It was delicious, moist and tasty, and we gobbled them all up, with the juice dripping down our fingers. No cheese, no beans, no sour cream. No Old El Paso.
Oh yes, and the tacos themselves, which in a way are the stars of the show. Firstly, they come in an adorable little basket. They’re small, soft, quite thick but not heavy or stodgy at all. And they smell SO GOOD. Honestly.
While reading the menu I was intrigued by the Tacos de Lengua – Ox tongue Mexico City style steamed with herbs and spices, served with salse verde. Maybe next time.
The end result of our Mexican dinner. Utter and complete decimation.