Describing the surge of great, clean, flavoursome cuisines such as Mexican as dude food, especially when used in a belittling sense, is little minded. Closer to Mexico, Mexican food is and has always been properly associated with what we are finally getting a taste of in Australia. Personally I like good food and there is nothing that is fad or short-lived about that.
Fonda slotted into a space created by Mamasita characterised by reasonably priced (but not dirt cheap like other versions of barely Mexican food that I grew up with), fresh and full flavoured dishes. However, unlike Mamasita’s city cool, Fonda brought a certain suburban hip. It has expanded since, such is the success of the “brand”.
What we call modern Mexican is normal in America. In any case, when I think modern Mexican I think of great tequila (no shooting when you are paying over $15 a nip!), tortillas etc all handmade including the delicious corn chips, fresh vibrant salsas and ceviches, balanced spice and chilli, and exceptional star ingredients such as pulled pork and sweet corn.
I go to Fonda regularly and stopped by on this evening with Catherine on the way to the Arctic Monkeys. She enjoyed a fine version of a margarita catchily called “basil darling” and I tried a beer I haven’t previously had that was an excellent pale ale called “sir veza”. It may have been the name that attracted me!
We shared some tacos – fish, pork and wagyu beef. I love the light, thin tortillas used for the tacos. The fish has a golden crumb that adds terrific texture with the pickled carrot and onion, chipotle aioli and cabbage. The pork is juicy and slow cooked, adding extra depth of flavor with small pieces of pineapple, onion and coriander to compliment. The wagyu shin is plentiful, and strong, but maybe a little overpowering to the other ingredients of lime, poblano (mild chilli pepper), jicama (crisp edible white flesh of the yam bean), pickled red onion and coriander. We also had some corn which is grilled and topped with delicious ricotta cheese and chipotle aioli.
While the burritos are more filling, and the quesadillas potentially more satisfying with all the meat, cheese and crisp tortilla, I can’t go past the tacos here which have such a good balance of flavour and a nice amount of spice. Everything is pretty good to great though including the salads.