Melbourne, VIC 3000
End of third year pharmacy and another badly written blog post! Because food is more fun than studying about gas gangrene, subsequent amputation, and which antibiotics are needed to prevent a horrible horrible death.
So Touché Hombre opened with great fanfare just over six months ago on the back of the Mexican wave and it’s been mucho popular since. I’ve wanted to visit from day one but like I said, gas gangrene and tertiary education.
We were going to sit inside except by 5:45pm on a Friday the place was packed out, and the only places available were on a communal table inside the loud-as-a-rodeo bar. Considering everything, sitting outside became a no-brainer – look at that weather! I mean sure, the al fresco seating wasn’t licensed but no worries, we headed to Little Peninsula for drinkies after.
|Fatty Lamb Ribs ($11)|
Fatty Lamb Ribs ($11) are on the menu? Of course we ordered them. And out came a little bowl of tender, fall-off the bone ribs which Chris ate the majority of whilst I was busy taking photos. The little morsels were unabashedly fatty and delectable with a squeeze of lemon to cut through the sweetness.
|Elotes Callejeros ($6)|
At Mexican restaurants, Elotes Callejeros ($6) are the way to go! Shame these were teeny, flat and a bit dry, with no zip, zing or zidgereedoo to be tasted. The corn wasn’t smoky, spicy or creamy, even after me desperately rolling it in the shredded manchego cheese stuck to the bottom of the bowl.
|Fruta Del Mar Ceviche ($13)|
Everything about the Fruta Del Mar Ceviche ($13) was unremarkable. The seafood (snapper, prawn, mussels) was fresh but not swimming, the flavours were alright but lacked complexity – mostly sour, to the point of being excessively so at the bottom. I couldn’t taste any habanero, cilantro, or pineapple. Shame because had it been seasoned right, this could’ve been very, very good.
|De Pescado ($7.5)/Del Coronel ($6.5)|
And now, the Mexican staple – tacos. The De Pescado ($7.5) taco of battered day-boat fish certainly floated my boat. The combination of seafood, pickled cucumber mayo (in other words, tartar sauce), and salsa isn’t innovative by any stretch of the imagination but the combination of crispy fish, sour yet creamy sauce, and fresh salad is everything delicious in a tiny little tortilla.
Our other taco, the Del Coronel ($6.5) was less memorable for me. I couldn’t taste the promised chermoula in the mayo or the smoked avocado, and the chicken was disappointingly bland with no smokiness reminiscent of supposed char-grilling. I took a hasty bite then threw it back at Chris, just so I could have the fish taco back.
|Cookies and Cream Ice Cream Sandwich ($7)|
It was getting colder by this point, and whilst Chris had gallantly given me his jumper, we both wanted to be inside before the weather got angry. So we finished off with a quick dessert of Cookies and Cream Ice Cream Sandwich ($7). And whilst this was good (sweet, creamy... sweet?), it was once again uninspired. I’ll admit the chocolate coated cherry popping candy is a brilliant idea, but only on paper– the thick chocolate coating stopped the popping candy from actually popping, and it ended up just tasting like bits of chocolate with a hint of cherry.
So Touché Hombre was a bit of a letdown in terms of food. Most of it was only average, with a few standing out and above the rest (lamb ribs, fish taco), but nothing I would wake up in the middle of the night craving. And yes the portions are as small as they look; if you came here for a night of debauchery, I feel like you could spend up to $100 on drinks and nibbles. Despite it all, I really enjoyed the overall experience; digging into a platter of finger food on the side of the road on a beautiful Friday afternoon, it’s the very embodiment of the street-food experience that is so hard to come by in Australia.
Rating: 12.5/20 - thanks man.