There are certain countries on my bucket list that make it up there mostly because I’ve fallen in love with the cusiine and want to experience it for myself in its native country. Mexico is one of those countries.
Over the last few years, Mexican restaurants have been popping up all over Melbourne. You just have to head down to the famous Mamasitas on Collins St to realise just how popular Mexican is in this city.
But if you don’t feel like waiting in line for over an hour, or feel like saving a few pennies by not splurging on such a pricey restaurant, then Fonda Mexican is the perfect place for you.
I’ve actually been eating at Fonda for over a year now. It’s less than a five minute drive from work so I often order some takeaway and pick it up during my lunch break. But takeaway doesn’t give you the best opportunity to take pretty photos for a food review.
Luckily, I headed to Fonda with my friend Sam last weekend to celebrate him finishing his thesis and was finally able to not just get some great shots for a food review, but also to try a wider range of dishes than I previously have.
My regular takeaway order from this place is a fish burrito. Whilst it is probably not too authentic of them (also burritos aren’t authentic Mexican in general), Fonda puts quinoa and black beans instead of rice into their burritos. I find it really delicious and less heavy than the usual addition of rice.
The fish is always nice and crispy and the addition of slaw, their chipotle aioli (which is seriously the best sauce I’ve ever had in my life) and guacamole makes this a delicious lunch. Fonda also has a genuine tortilla press so the burrito is wrapped up in authentic corn tortilla, not the crappy wheat stuff you get from the supermarket.
However, a burrito is really filling so it wasn’t a great option when I went with Sam as we wanted to try lots of dishes.
The perfection option for this was Fonda’s Feed Me option which consists of their tostadas, corn, two fish tacos and a pork quesadilla. We also added the chipotle fries because I seriously can’t get enough of that chipotle mayo.
The tostadas are a mix of white and blue corn tortilla crisps and come served with home made guacamole and pico de gallo (salsa). I’m not sure its possible to make bad guacamole but Fonda’s is delicious.
That said I have got a potentially excessive obsession with tomatoes so the pico de gallo is my favourite part of this dish. It’s an authentic way to begin your Mexican meal (or so I’ve been told by my Mexican friend).
The charred corn is slathered in that same amazing chipotle aioli, a blend of queso (cheese) and fresh lime. I love corn served this way and the taste is worth the effort of having to pick corn out of your teeth whilst eating it.
I’ve mentioned already how amazing Fonda’s chipotle aioli is. It’s got such a depth of flavour; the aioli part is obviously homemade and the addition of what I can only presume are chilli, lime, salt and other traditional Mexican flavours make it to die for.
Hence I have to always order the chipotle chips as they give me ample opportunity to eat copious amounts of the aioli. We even had to ask for a second bowl of sauce! The fries themselves are beautifully cooked and I love how Fonda adds coriander to them for extra flavour (although probably unnecessary given how good that chipotle aioli is).
The fish tacos use the same crispy fish as I get in my usual fish burrito. I’m pretty sure they use Rockling. They then add guacamole, pickled carrot and onion, shaved cabbage and more chipotle aioli! But what make them so good is the freshly pressed corn tortillas.
The one other time I’ve sat down for a meal at Fonda was with my cousin Elle and we just ordered a variety of tacos. All of them are really great and have awesome combinations of flavour.
The Mexico City Pork tacos come with shaved zucchini, pomegranate and chilli, whilst the beef one comes with guacamole, shaved cabbage, pico de gallo and extra salsa. But the fish ones are still my favourite (I’m not going to lie, it’s probably because of the chipotle aioli).
By this stage we were getting pretty full but we managed to make room for the final dish; The Mexico City Pork Quesadillas. For anyone who hasn’t heard of them before, they are basically a Mexican toastie. Filling is put between two tortillas and they are toasted, usually with the addition of cheese. I’ve also been told Quesadillas are another authentic Mexican dish!
Fonda’s pork quesadilla was delicious and came with some sauce that I still can’t quite figure out. Even after tasting it on its own I still wasn’t sure exactly what it is made from or what its flavour was.
But combined with pork, pico de gallo, avocado salsa, pickled onion and guajillo chilli toasted between more of their freshly pressed corn tortilla, it was a great end to the meal.
By the end of it we were so full that we had to walk around for a bit just to fit in the Gelato Messina we wanted for dessert 😛
I washed this all down with one of the drinks off the non-alcoholic menu- I was still doing Ocsober at this stage. The agua fresca is a house made water blended with different flavours and cane sugar. I always get the pineapple and mint one which is bascially like fresh Mexican cordial. It’s amazing!
Fonda isn’t the cheapest Mexican food option in town. My usual fish burrito sets me back $16. However the feed me option is pretty good value, coming in at $49 for two people. We also added the fries for an extra $8.
That said it’s a really cute place to have a meal. The décor is all about stripes coupled with colours like bright blue and yellow. They also have some killer cocktails!
For me, it’s a great mid-tier place. Not cheap like my 10 meals for under $10, but still pretty good value in light of the delicious food and great atmosphere.
Depending on what you want to spend, a meal at Fonda is likely to range from $15 for a simple burrito to around $40 per person for a range of dishes and a drink.
They have four locations in Melbourne. You’ll find them in Flinders Lane in the CBD, a short ten minute walk from Richmond Station on Swan St, on Chapel St in Windsor, and most recently across from Glenferrie Station in Hawthorn. My usual haunt is the Richmond one!