Fonda Mexican is set for Chadstone.
“TO BE honest, we were anti-shopping centre, as they generally haven’t been up to scratch. But we were really impressed with the vision at Chadstone,” says Tim Mcdonald of Fonda Mexican.
So impressed, they are one of seven “name” restaurants that will make up the new dining terrace precinct as part of the $660 million redevelopment of the centre, set to be unveiled this week. The other tenants include Neil Perry’s Burger Project, woodfired pizza pioneers Woodstock, dumpling masters New Shanghai, Vietnamese experts Mama’s Buoi, Japanese snack mavens Marae Izakaya, and Mezz Food and Wine from the team behind Flemington’s Smith + Singleton.
“They’re operators we’re proud to be sitting among,” Mcdonald says. “People do raise an eyebrow when we say we’re going to Chadstone, but we think it’s the perfect fit for the Fonda brand.”
Mcdonald says the clincher was the huge amount of natural light that lends the space a magnetic appeal. That light comes from the gridshell roof made up of more than 2700 glass panes. It’s one of the defining features of the development, according to Vicinity Centres CEO Angus Mcnaughton. “Our vision reflects Melbourne’s reputation as Australia’s dining capital,” he says. Fonda Chadstone joins the Richmond, Hawthorn, Knox and Flinders Lane restaurants and will be a similar size to the bustling Windsor branch.
A comparable menu – tacos, quesadillas and burritos – will be offered, with late-night dining late in the week. Come summer, look out for the ice cream taco.
As for the suggestion the Mexican wave has washed over Melbourne, Mcdonald is adamant it’s not a fad. “The new interpretation of Mexican will be around for a while, as the fundamentals of the cuisine are good. It ticks the boxes in what people look for in a meal. Simple, affordable, interesting food. I like to think we’re innovative enough to move with the times.”