Following the success of CBD Mexican joint Touché Hombre, restaurateur Davis Yu has brought his 1980s-themed Mexican street food concept to South Yarra, saying ‘adios’ to the old Claremont Tonic and ‘hola’ to Touché Hombre Eléctrica in Claremont Street.
With the same party vibe, retro pop-culture references and Latino street art style, Eléctrica injects a welcome dose of casual exuberance to an area still shaking off its long-held stuffy guise.
With a handful of departures from the Hombre HQ’s offerings, chef Sean Judd’s menu takes inspiration from Baja street cuisine, otherwise known as ‘fresh-Mex’ due to its reliance on fresh produce and seafood. Think mescal-infused ocean trout with green apple and cilantro or sashimi-grade prawns ‘cooked’ in lime juice and chilli – perfect partners for a few rounds of the ultra-smooth Tromba tequila.
Tacos are a given and here you’ll find them stuffed with braised Wagyu brisket and avocado, Mexican beer-battered fish or with grilled chicken, crispy chicken skin and chipotle mayo. The queso fundito (a melted, cheesy, chorizo-studded take on fondue) is dude food amplified to 11 and the merquén and lemon fatty lamb ribs screams winner.
Drinks are fun and a little bit cheeky, with a heavy focus on inventive mescal and tequila-based cocktails. The decor plumbs the same streetwise 80s pop culture references that Yu so lavishly employed at the original: lots of neon, lots of aerosol and more than the odd Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.
The chequered shirt-clad service is warm, bouncy and responsive, and the no-bookings policy will mean that seat space will become increasingly coveted as the venue’s momentum grows. In the meantime, Eléctrica makes a fine place to snack with a posse, order a few chicken-shaped jugs of sangria and kill some time on the free-play Street Fighter II console.