eyers Place is turning into a Latin hub with the recent opening of Senoritas, next door to Argentinean restaurant San Telmo. Owned by Ricardo Amare (who is behind A Window to Mexico boutique in Hawksburn) and business partner Linda Temani, Senoritas is an authentic Mexican restaurant, “as so much Mexican food outside Mexico is nothing like we have at home,” says Mexico City native, Amare.
Head chef Hugo Reyes, with culinary experience that includes a degree in Gastronomy and his former role as head chef of the Mexican Embassy in Switzerland, has created a menu celebrating the diverse regions of Mexico. “Our kitchen is wonderful, the best in the world…rich in variety of colours, flavours, textures, ingredients but above all, noble on the palate for the demanding diner,” says Reyes. Each region is listed beside each dish on the menu, which is split into share plates, soups, mains, sauce and dessert, and also encourages diners to experience the favourite dishes of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, such as the Sopes de Pato Al Tamarindo, meat patties topped with duck and tamarind sauce, which we hear Kahlo used to share with Rivera.
To complement dishes, Senoritas has varying salsas on the menu too. “One of the things you find to eat anywhere in Mexico, on the street or in a restaurant, is the salsa,” he explains. “It’s always fresh, made with different types of chilli and everyone makes their own from scratch.”
Designed by interior design consultancy Lombard & Jack, Senorita’s is inspired by women in Mexican culture, combined with references to the traditional ‘Dia de Muertos’ (Day of the Dead). The intimate space embraces the richness of Mexican culture yet strikes a contemporary balance with local artist commissions such as a life sized La Catrina and a mirrored interpretation of a Diego Rivera mural by Dennis Ropar, not to mention handcrafts from the region such as Talavera pottery and glasses specially designed for sipping tequila. “I wanted it to be very authentic but very Melbourne,” says Amare. “It’s rich and colourful but dark as well.”
The drinks list includes Mexican and Spanish beers and tequila – there’s lots of it – with some rare and some regular tequilas and Mezcal just for Senoritas. “Mezcal is the brother of tequila and very popular in Mexico right now,” he says. “We specialise in it and have a lot of beautiful ones to try.”
16 Meyers Place, Melbourne
(03) 9639 7437
Tue to Sat 5pm–11.30pm (with plans to open at lunchtime in the next few months)