Acland Street Cantina
2 Acland Street
St Kilda, VIC 3182
Ph: (03) 9536-1175
So, "Modern Mexican". It's a Melbourne dining trend that has pretty much passed me by. I visited Mamasita once back in 2010, wasn't a huge fan, and never had any burning desire to go back. Upon reflection my dislike of the restaurant was more to do with the inexplicable hype surrounding it, rather than the food itself, which was fine, if a little expensive. I just don't get why you'd want to line up for hours for it. (Or any restaurant, for that matter - but that's just my inner grumpy-old-lady talking). I must admit it also really grated on me that it was gushingly described by fawning bloggers and food writers as "authentic" Mexican, when it clearly wasn't.
And so, I never really had any interest in any of the Modern Mexican wave (hah!) of restaurants that have sprung up in Melbourne over the past couple of years. Prior to this visit to Acland Street Cantina, I hadn't been to Fonda, to Señoritas, to Chingón, to The Newmarket Hotel, to Touché Hombre. I had been to (and enjoyed) Los Amates, but as it's been around for ages, and serves traditional Mexican comfort food, rather than modernising it or creating a nightclub vibe with loud music, dark lighting and/or queues, I don't count it as being in the same category.
I much prefer trying to cook Mexican-style food at home, especially with my lovely cousin Catherine, who shares my cynicism regarding "Modern Mexican". (See Mexican Lunch #1; Mexican Lunch #2; and Mexican Lunch #3. Hot tip for home cooks: sopes are way easier than tortillas!)
This is really just a long-winded way of explaining that I went to newish Mod-Mexican restaurant Acland Street Cantina twice this year, and despite all my preconceptions, really enjoyed it!
|Acland Street Cantina|
The first visit was on a Friday night - my cousin and I had just attended the launch of Circa's Pop Up Yakitori Bar at The Prince (you can read about it at Gourmet Chick's blog), and hadn't been sufficiently assertive in the packed crowd to get more than a couple of nibbles and a drink each. We decided to retreat next door to Acland Street Cantina (another Paul Wilson venture, incidentally) to continue chatting and get a bit more food. We sat in the bar section at the front and shared some baja fish tacos and a bowl of bravas potatoes, both of which were very impressive.
|Baja Fish Tacos, $14 for 2 (at night)|
|Bravas Potatoes - $7|
|Flowers, tequila bottle|
|Acland Street Cantina - bar section|
|Cinco De Mayo|
|Strawberry Iced Tea - $4|
Jarritos Grapefruit - $4 (but included in the Cinco de Mayo plate)
|Pumpkin guacamole with vegetable chips and salsa - $12|
|Authentic Al Pastor Spit-Roasted Pork w/ Pineapple Salsa - $5 (at lunch)|
|Pueblan-style goat w/ red mole - $5 (at lunch)|
|Baja Fried Fish w/ slaw and chipotle mayo - $5 (at lunch)|
|Salted caramel ice cream churros tacos - $12|
I had a bit of value left on my voucher, so one of the waiters suggested I get some groceries to use it up. Here's what I got!
|My chilli haul|
Thanks for the voucher, ASC, it was an awesome lunch! Looking forward to coming back again on my own coin one day!
Do you have a favourite Mexican restaurant in Melbourne? Do you prefer modern or traditional Mexican food? Do you like to follow dining and food trends or do you just eat what you like?