Henry, Jane, Peter or Bridget Fonda have nothing to do with Melbourne’s latest Mexican food establishment. But if they were in town, I’m sure they’d rock on down to their namesake for a day-turning fish taco or three.
Recently opened by chums David Youl and Tim McDonald, Fonda Mexican is tagged as “a casual, accessible Mamasita”. Fonda, or la Fonda literally translates to hotel or a small house in Mexico that does food. And man, does Fonda Mexican “do” food.
Guided by the culinary guns in the open kitchen – seasoned chef Ravi Presser (Cumulus Inc.) and Mexican chef Lupita Manzo (Cantinero, Sydney), who brings more of the home-style edge to the mix – Fonda Mexican aims to offer a healthy food alternative. This is not fast food, but good food served quickly.
Situated just near Grandma Funks and a run of Greek restaurants on Swan Street, Fonda Mexican is right next door to old boy barber, Marini of Richmond. There are five mini tables out the front (which will seat 20), more seating inside, and a bunch more out the back. The capacity of the place is at 55 heads, so get in early with a group and make a night of it.
Can you hear the chopped beef and kangaroo fillet burritos calling? The vegetarian or braised pork taco, filled with pineapple, onion, coriander and lime? Sure you can.
Enjoy sides of charred corn, fat chips and a kicking chorizo quesadilla. Add a little El Yucateco Green or Red Salsa Picante de Chile Habanero Hot Sauce to the mix, but don’t ask for sour cream – the Fonda team don’t roll with Mexican clichés. They also substitute rice for quinoa, make their dough at the Convent Bakery, Abbotsford and source all fresh ingredients from the Vic Market.
The Fonda crew even tap into a seasonal menu. At the moment, you can catch them working up an asparagus, refried beans and queso fresco (soft, white Mexican cheese) type deal. With salsas made fresh everyday, Bon Iver on the iPod, Mexican drinks Horchata and Jarrito Soda everywhere and the hum of Swan Street traffic, everything is in its right place at Fonda Mexican.
Look out for the orange Fonda-branded postie bike, or the vast graffiti stamp of ‘Mi Casa Su Casa’ on the exterior wall if you’re heading towards the city.
248 Swan Street, Richmond
(03) 9429 0085
Fri & Sat 12pm-midnight