Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Gringo Vibes Mexican Cantina

489 High St
Northcote, VIC 3070

There’s nothing quite like Mexican food. There’s no other cuisine that can make such rustic, basic ingredients like corn, rice and beans taste so, well, tasty.  Talk about making the most of things.



Gringo Vibes Mexican Cantina is a bit out of the way but it’s worth the trip out to Northcote to have us some good solid Mexican fare. The interior is sparse but cheerfully orange in true Mexican style, and service is very friendly, if a bit scattered. And the music they play? Downright groovy, if that’s what you want to call dubstep remixes of Adele.


Hibiscus Drink ($3)

It wasn’t warm enough to justify the air conditioner but it was definitely cosy, so a cold drink was in order. I could’ve gotten a boring old OJ but then I saw the Hibiscus Drink ($3) scrawled on the specials board. When I asked the waiter what was in it, he told me that it had a secret ingredient – hibiscus. Go figure. What resulted was a refreshing drink that tasted of cranberry with a hint of floral. My guess is that it was a steeped hibiscus tea, flavoured with lime syrup and served over crushed ice to make for a refreshing summer beverage.


Steak Burrito ($15)

Steak Burrito ($15)

Steak Burrito ($15)? How can you lose! Especially when it’s served with a handful of home-made chips in two shades of corn (blue and yellow). The burrito was probably one of the smaller ones I’ve seen but it was packed ridiculously tightly with spiced rice, tender steak, and black beans, all with cheese melted through. Yep, you definitely can’t go wrong.


Vegetarian Tacos ($11) with Jalapenos ($1)

Vegetarian Tacos ($11) with Jalapenos ($1)

I had wanted fish tacos but apparently they’ve been out of said fish for two days. So Vegetarian Tacos ($11) with Jalapenos ($1) it was! I could have refried beans or black beans in the tacos and after asking our waiter, I settled on the latter. I have to admit that when they first came out I didn’t think much of them but boy was I wrong.  I don’t know what they did but the creamy black beans, crisp veggies, and I don’t even know what else, double wrapped in a soft and sweet corn tortilla came together to form something remarkably wholesome and satisfying. And the plump jalapenos on top were the spicy, tangy icing on the taco cake.

As modest as the portions seemed, we were both full at this point. Too full for the pumpkin coconut pie, or the sangria – BOOOO. This place may not have the most noteworthy food but it was one of the most enjoyable Mexican meals I’ve had to date. No frills or gimmicks, it just offers up hearty and honest nosh. The people who live in the neighbourhood are lucky buttocks.

Rating: 14/20 – hell yeah tacos.  

Gringo Vibes Mexican Cantina on Urbanspoon

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