Not so Fonda

As some of you may know..

In anticipation of my return visit to Cabo, Mexico next month; I have been slowly working my way through Melbourne’s many Taquerías. Tonight led me to the latest venture Fonda  from chef Ravi Presser aiming to be a hit with locals for its homely, authentic mexican menu and traditional Antojitos. The external design is fantastic, the hilarious catch phrase “Mi Casa Su Casa” hits you even as you drive past, so the anticipation leading up to my visit here was enormous. I guess that was half the problem, because in the lead up to last nights visit I had been there twice and the line had literally stretched out the door and almost knocked people over exiting nearby Union Dining.

Walking in, you are greeted with an almost retro Fish ‘n Chip shop vibe(you know, back in the day when they were actually owned and run by Greeks). White walls, cash register and cooking appliances to one side and tables and chairs positioned around them accordingly. Its a tight squeeze, but everyone seems generally happy just to be able to sit down in there and it works quite well. If you are lucky enough go there on a quiet night and find a table, get your dining partner to mind the spot and order and pay at the counter. In Grilld esque fashion, the floor and kitchen is run by young, hip teens with a penchant for charm and speedy service. If you need help finding a seat, one of the lovely ladies will whisk you down the back or recommend somewhere to park your bum while you wait.

Ordering off the mouth-watering list of burritos, tacos and quesedillas is quick, painless and oh-so-monday-night-cheap. The food comes out very quick and service on the night was generally very good.

Bizarrely, the one taco I use to benchmark all others; the Carnita was substituted for a beef variant. This was puzzling as it is still currently listed on the menu online. We ordered a couple of these ($6 ea) along with a Chorizo Quesadilla ($12 ea) and my favourite Mexican cerveza at the moment; Pacifico ($9) and took our seats.

The quesedilla arrived in no time at all and was presented very well. They were sliced into little triangles and dipped in salsa roja (red sauce – with a nice kick!) Strangely no share plates were forthcoming (We got up and asked) so once these were obtained we dug in. The quality of the quesedilla was overall pretty good. The dough was good, chorizo was fair but the queso fresco (melted spanish cheese) was uninspiring; reminding me in a lot of ways like cheap mozzarella.

The bad news is that the experience did not improve much when the tacos arrived shortly after. The size, presentability and value of the taco was very good. However, the quality of the beef was again lacking and fresh ingredients are king when it comes to good taco making. Furthermore, a hard, stringy accompaniment that could only have been an auxiliary part of the beef could only be likened to tree-bark and was hence promptly removed.

Unfortunately the reality of younger staff mean a tendency for a bit of variability of quality of food. I’m hoping this is the reason for the disappointing experience here and will make a return visit in the not-too-distant future.

The taco trawl continues…

Appeal (3/3):
Attempted to dine here twice before. Line stretched out the door and the smell of corn bread through the door was enough to keep me coming back!

Design(2/3):
Functionality wise I had no major complaints. The walk-ways were easy to navigate despite the tight fit, and the layout was overall very good. Lost a point because of the vicinity the outside tables are to the toilet. The last table is literally a metre away.

Service(3/3):
Quick and efficient service with staff very attentive and pretty friendly.

Food(2/5):
Menu had lots of variety and presentation was quite good. The fact that they didn’t hit any of the dishes though was quite disappointing.

Drink(3/3):
Here’s how you nail a list with only three beers on there. Does exactly what a drinks list is supposed to and covers all areas without going overboard.

Overall: 
3 stars.

Would I return?
 Yes, because all places have an off day. But bring back the damn pork taco!
Fonda Mexican on Urbanspoon

2 thoughts on “Not so Fonda

  1. Pingback: Fonda Windsor | mangiabeve

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