Getting Our Mexican on at El Habanero in South Melbourne

Months ago a friend from work told me about a Mexican restaurant that had opened on Clarendon Street and said I had to try it. Today, L and I finally went. All I’m thinking now is why didn’t we go earlier! 

The restaurant is cosy, and has great exposed brick walls. It is not huge, adding to a very comfortable atmosphere. On arrival we ordered a cucumber and jalapeno margarita and a drink called Paloma. My Paloma was a tasty mixture of tequila, sparkling grapefruit and tajin (a seasoning that consists of  peppers, lime and salt). L’s margarita was also really tasty, the jalapeno added a very nice kick to it, while the cucumber followed up for a cool finish. 

To start off our Mexican fiesta we chose corn chips with guacamole, corn on the cob and quesadillas.

The corn was served with chipotle crema and fresh homemade cheese sprinkled on top, it was delicious. The guac also got a big thumbs up from me! The chips were golden and crunchy and the guacamole was fresh and well seasoned. 
The quesadillas were generous, round and plump with filling. The crispy handmade tortilla was wrapped around a filling of panela cheese and corn truffle. If you haven’t tried corn truffle, it is well worth a try. Its actually fungus that grows on corn, and is seen as a disease in those parts of the world that mass produce corn. However, in Mexico it is a tasty staple, and I can see why.  We have cooked with it before and it has a distinct taste, like earthy mushrooms. Trust me, it’s amazing! 

Next up were tacos, a pulled pork one for L and a fish taco for myself. 
L’s pork came with grilled pineapple, guacamole, salsa, radish and coriander. According to him it was juicy and sweet, a perfect combination. My fish taco came with a piece of flathead with chipotle crema, cucumber salsa and cabbage.

I love fish tacos with chipotle crema, that nice little kick at the end is just amazing. The fish was cooked really well, I just wish I had ordered more than one! 

As our shared main L really wanted to try Arracherra Steak, a piece of meat that has taken a 24hour bath in lime juice, Mexican spices and beer. It came out with a serve of tortillas on the side. The steak smelled great, and was a generous portion size. It was served rare, and sliced length-ways. I wrapped a piece in a tortilla, topped it with guacamole and salsa…and it was so juicy and full of flavour. There were a couple of tough bites, bu they were a trade off for the texture and flavour of most of the steak. Well worth a try.

Quite unlike me I didn’t actually have room for dessert, but L has announced this might be his new favourite restaurant and since it’s within walking distance we’ll hopefully be back soon! Our hands-down favourite was the quesadilla.  

El Habanero

342 Clarendon St 

South Melbourne VIC 3205

03 9645 8148

El Habanero on Urbanspoon

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