HOLY GUACAMOLE 4/5
With our appetite for Mexican food still running hot, this fun and casual eatery in Collingwood could be the answer to our prayers $$
HOTEL JESUS: REVIEWED BY DAN STOCK
IT’S six years since Matt Lane and Nick Peters opened Melbourne’s original queue-tastic taqueria Mamasita, and while their second venue has been a long time coming, boy do good things come to those who wait.
And with Mamasita still surfing the Mexican wave that washed over the city, it’s clear that we are yet to tire of the pleasures of tortillas, tacos and margaritas, which Hotel Jesus delivers with casual flair. Think of it as Mamasita’s louder, brasher, betterlooking younger sibling.
The space – the old post office on Smith St – is incredible. It’s a clever evocation of Mexico thanks to designer (and co-owner) James Brown, complete with a beer can shrine in the loos, vases filled with fake flowers, and a healthy dose of religious iconography scattered throughout the white-tiled space.
Service is fast and perky, while ordering is a tick-the-box affair. There’s lots you’ll want to tick.
The tostadas – crunchy-crisp toasted tortillas – are the signature, though be warned, they are tricky to eat, piled precipitously high with toppings.
I loved the smoked tuna with slivers of bonito on top, and though it’s worth ordering for the name alone, I was less sold on the porktopus, slices of octopus teamed with chicharron, (puffed pork rind), that fell apart into a wet mess upon eating.
Tacos prove easier to tackle. The green chorizo with white onion and chips is a must, while battered fish and pulled beef are other top options. As is the seafood cocktail.
There’s a picture card of extensive drinks, from salt-rimmed cans of Rio Bravo beer, michelada cocktails (like a beer-topped virgin mary) and a huge range of mescal, so the booze flows as freely as the tacos fly from the kitchen.
It’s none too serious, but it’s definitely fabulous. Hotel Jesus is a winner. Praise be the lord.