Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Mesa Verde

Level 6, 252 Swanston St
Melbourne, VIC 

It came in the night. With no fanfare and hardly any warning, except for a short media release in my inbox, Mesa Verde became the newest addition to Curtin House, boasting Mexican treats and an extensive drinks list all the way up on the 6th floor.

Like most inhabitants of Curtin House, Mesa Verde is first and foremost a bar. The restaurant itself has a distinctly western feel with lots of wood and lazy ceiling fans, topped off with mismatching oil lamps, and cowboy films projected onto a blank wall. And whilst we were here for the tacos, most people seemed keener on sampling the 240 types of tequila on offer. 

Baja Fish Taco ($8)/Ox Tongue Taco ($6.5)

Speaking of tacos, we started our Mexican fiesta with an Ox Tongue Taco ($6.5), and a Baja Fish Taco ($8), the latter being from the specials menu. The tacos had a generous amount of filling held in a soft tortilla; the juicy cubes of ox tongue were served with a grassy salsa verde and tangy pickles, and the crisp baton of fish was simply garnished with crisp iceberg lettuce and a drizzle of spicy chipotle mayo. 

Grilled Corn ($6)

I ordered the Grilled Corn ($6) with a healthy dose of anticipation, and these were fine specimens indeed. The sweet, charred kernels of corn were rolled in a peppery chipotle mayo and shavings of queso fresco. The creamy sweetness was spiced up with the addition of smoky chipotle powder, and a squeeze of lime. 

Lamb and Green Olive Empanada ($6.5)

Chris the Crazy doesn’t like grilled corn, so he had a Lamb and Green Olive Empanada ($6.5) instead. The crescent of pastry came out flaky and piping hot, filled with a lamb mince that was a tad dry but flavoursome. Not sure where the green olive featured though.

Bourbon Glazed Pork Ribs ($20)

Bourbon Glazed Pork Ribs ($20)

Most of the larger plates sounded delicious, but we couldn’t resist the Bourbon Glazed Pork Ribs ($20). The succulent rack of ribs was sweet, sticky, and finger-lickingly good. And whilst Chris only had eyes for the protein, I loved the crisp, piquant salad of radishes and watercress on the side.

Potatoes al Horno ($9)

To go with our ribs, we ordered a plate of Potatoes al Horno ($9), an intriguingly named dish that turned out to be a simple serve of roast potatoes – not that there’s anything wrong with that! They were completely delectable, with a crisp skin and fluffy center, garnished with sea salt and brittle sage leaves.

Mesa Verde is a worthy addition to the ever-growing Mexican scene in Melbourne. It’s not cheap, but let’s not pretend that Mexican is a particularly affordable option around here anyway. For the price, you get a selection of food that won’t leave anyone complaining, countless ways to get sloshed, and no queue to boot – for now.  

Rating: 14/20 – green pastures.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit. 

Mesa Verde on Urbanspoon

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