So what do you do when you look at your first crack at it, and think to yourself “Shit. Too small, too cramped, not enough variety, sub-standard food”. Well, the obvious choice is to sell up and move to Bali, but not Fonda. They took precisely everything that was wrong with the first venture, dipped into Chris Lucas’ mentality of “build a bar inside the place so patrons can start the ball rolling while they wait” and seat what looks like around 3-4x more patrons and just sit back and watch the tide roll in.
And the fit-out is neat too. Much the same white walls as the originals, but with less fish-n-chip and more dining hall. It’s a great social environment, and the bar upstairs is deliciously decorated. The $9 Pacifico’s had about 6 facings in the bar fridge, with such an aurora around them I swear I saw a halo.
Seats are a little cramped but it only adds to the vibe. Actually, while i’m on the analogy, you also order and pay up at counter much like a fish-n-chip shop too. I guess it’s designed to speed things up, and I guess it does also. Even with 5 tables ahead of us (1 hour wait at Mamasita, 4 hour wait at Chin Chin) we were seated in about 15 minutes.
Service was stellar too, they really have it down to a fine art and food is only ever 5-10 minutes away.
So, what did we eat? Read on.
Antipasto of chipotle chips a perfect way to whet the apetite. Thick cut planks with a side of creamy chipotle aioli. Did note that it definitely needed more chipotle. Too much cream, not enough tang.
Again, i stress, where are the damn carnitas. At least we got pork this time, the “Braised Pork” (We didn’t have the pulled pork quesadillas, but surely it would the same meat) a nod to carnitas with pineapple, coriander onion and chicharons. These were good. Refreshing crisp and I have to say sizeable. at $6, you get your money worth.
Next was the dish of the night. Chorizo quesedillas with sweet potato queso fresco and some jalapeno. Everything about them sang – what a dish. Would have loved to have tried the pulled pork but they are mega servings at $14.
Next up was the chicken burrito. Very skilfully and tightly wrapped. Looked very professional. With a touch more moisture too it (The beans + grilled chicken does dry the palate) with some sort of salsa, chipotle mayo or even guac this thing would have been great. Lost marks for some undue gristle in the meat.
We closed with the beef brisket which unfortunately was just not cooked how a slow piece should be – either too hot too quickly, or not long enough. The fatty innards didn’t have a chance to gel into the meat, instead they formed a chewy, stringy umbilical cord. Stick with the pork.
So then, Fonda presents decent honest Mexican food with a decent drinks menu full of handpicked value wines + beers. It’s not ground-breaking Mexican, but then again I haven’t tasted anything in Australia that has been. It serves up ok food – but most importantly, doesn’t make you wait 3 hours for it.
144 Chapel St, Windsor