31 Flinders Lane
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Mexican food is made for Fridays, and as I have said before, I am awfully Fonda Mexican food. And when I ended up working more than an hour overtime on a Friday afternoon with no extra pay, a Mexican pick-me-up from Fonda Flinders was exactly what I needed.
Unlike the branch at Richmond, the baby of the group, Fonda Flinders is enormous. But it’s not impersonal; not only is the down-to-earth feel of the original restaurant retained, they even managed to inject an extra shot of festivity into the air. It could’ve been the wide open space full of happy voices bouncing off the walls, or it could’ve just been the fact that everyone was looking forward to a long weekend, but I felt instantly happier the moment we stepped inside.
My love affair with Horchata ($6) began at Fonda Mexican, and now we’ve come full circle. This is definitely the best place to get horchata in Melbourne; clinking with ice cubes, the drink was sweet and faintly milky, sweetened with condensed milk and whole sticks of cinnamon.
|Tortilla Crisps ($7)|
I’m definitely a grilled corn sort of gal, but I won’t say no to good Tortilla Crisps ($7) either. The tortilla chips were thick and crunchy, lovely with the tangy guacamole, but not so good with the salsa, which was watery and had a funny taste to it. I’ll admit I didn’t pay the most attention to them though, as Chris and I were busy making calf’s eyes at each other.
|Fish Taco ($7)|
Fonda does some of the best tacos around town, and no matter how many tacos I eat, the Fish Taco ($7) will always be one of my favourites. It’s not just the delicate cubes of fried rockling, the generously spicy chipotle mayo, or even the crunchy pickled vegetables on top. It’s the way the three elements come together to form one delicious package that delights the palate with a whole spectrum of flavours and textures.
|Braised Pork Taco ($6)|
The Braised Pork Taco ($6) had a distinctly more tropical tone to it; the fat wad of pulled pork was juicy and spicy, topped with honeyed chunks of pineapple. It was so juicy in fact that the soft tortilla split in two halfway through. There is no way I would dream of faulting how the tortilla itself tasted but, maybe a little work on structural integrity guys?
|Wagyu Shin Taco ($6)|
Since my last visit, Fonda seemed to have upgraded the braised beef taco to a Wagyu Shin Taco ($6), and the outcome was rich and succulent. The entire taco exuded warmth and heartiness, the smoky beef draped with plump strips of green poblano peppers, and sweet croutons of jicama, aka Mexican yam.
|Grilled Chicken Quesadilla ($14)|
I usually make a pretty good guess at what is and isn’t a winning dish on a menu, but after the disastrous mushroom quesadilla from my last Fonda visit, I gave in and let Chris choose the Grilled Chicken Quesadilla ($14). And I have to say, it tasted almost as amazing as it looked. The tortilla was crisp and darkly smoky, sandwiching grilled chicken and oozy strands of cheese, best eaten dipped into the lemon mayo on the side. It looks like second time was the charm.
The menu at Fonda Flinders is exactly the same as what you’ll find at their other restaurants, and this visit served as a reminder as to just why Fonda will always have a special place on the Mexican scene. They’re not afraid to go bold with their flavours, and it’s just such a fun, relaxing place to be. It’s impossible not to be in a good mood after eating here; go on, I dare you to prove me wrong.
Rating: 15/20 – still fonda mexican.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.