From the team that brought you Lucky Lupita’s and United Latino Cocina, comes Hispanic Mechanic, located at the former site of Osteria de Mesa. The food here is specifically a Korean fusion which utilises a special KoreanMex mix in their dishes. The Korean component is a reflection of the community that resides in Mexico. When quizzed about the origins of the restaurant name, I failed to get a proper answer. The menu is fairly straight forward with a selection of snacks, tacos, salads and mains.
Like most places these days, Hispanic Mechanic has gone for the industrial look with the exposed pipework and the classic white tiling with dark grout. The restaurant is divided into two sections with the main dining area on one side and a more casual bar area on the other.
To start off with, I had the Elote which is chargrilled yellow corn brushed with a chipotle mayonnaise, dry cheese and lime. The corn was sweet and juicy, and covered by a thick layer of dry cheese which really didn’t have much taste to it. The chipotle mayonnaise lacked heat and the tartness from the lime seemed to be missing. The chargrilled corn at Mamasita in Melbourne is the best in my opinion and it sets the benchmark by which I compare. I thought this dish was average at best.
The Taco Rosado comes with a house made corn tortilla which uses beetroot to give it that unique purple colour. The filling is more of an Asian affair with hot smoked salmon, cilantro, bean sprouts, fermented red-bean paste, cucumber mung bean salsa and wasabi mayonnaise. I thought the ingredient combination was good. The salmon was soft and delicate, the bean sprouts added a nice crunchy texture and the wasabi mayonnaise gave the dish plenty of depth. Having said that, I wouldn’t normally expect to have these ingredients inside a taco and I felt like I was just eating an Asian salad.
For the main, I had the Pollo Pozole Rojo which is a braised chicken and hominy (dried maize kernels) stew with ancho, marita and guajillo chillies, potato, corn, shredded lettuce, radish, avocado and totopos (corn chips). I didn’t like the presentation of this dish, although I could tell they made an effort to make it look good. The chicken was tender and succulent, and the flavours from the stew were well infused into the meat. The potato and avocado were firm, the lettuce, radish and corn chips added a nice crunchy texture, and the triple chilli combination gave the dish good heat. The dish was good but I wasn’t amazed by it.
The staff were really friendly and knowledgeable about the menu. Drinks and meals arrived promptly, plates were cleared as I finished and even the bill didn’t take too long to arrive. The atmosphere was vibrant with the upbeat Latin tunes playing constantly in the background. The pricing here is fair with the snacks starting at $4.50, the tacos $7, the salads $14 and the mains $19. The cost of all my dishes combined came to a total $33.50 which wasn’t too bad.
I really wanted to like this place. The service and the ambience were fantastic, but from the three dishes I ordered, I just wasn’t impressed.
WHERE: 205 Glen Osmond Rd, Frewville