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 $$

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Eat Out -

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.

174 Smith St, Colling­wood hotel­je­sus.com. au From top: green chorizo and beef ta­cos, the all-mex­i­can in­te­rior, and the seafood cock­tail.

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