Paco’s Taco’s is a new venture by the Movida restaurant empire, renaming and rebranding what once was Movida Terrazza. Frank Camorra and Andy McMahon offer lunchtime diners something other than gourmet sandwiches, roasts, pasta and seafood in this competitive business lunch arena. Offering quick and simple Mexican street food, paired with a selection of fruity cocktails to quench your palette once your mouth is overdone by the heat of Habanero’s and jalapeno chillies.If soft shelled tacos aren’t your thing, choose from a basket of nachos, some serious heart shattering pork crackling chips or seasoned barbecued corn.
This was an odd day for myself and the lovely Miss J, who planned to spend the day eating and catching up before her trip to the land where time was lost(Hawaii). The day went as such, head to Mexican Cousin, realise that our budgets were tighter than our stomachs, head to Paco Taco and eat to our little hearts content, but for my reputation I will review it in the usual manner of eating first and enjoying dessert after. Even though on this ideal day dessert was definitely eaten first.
The fit out of Paco’s Taco’s is like a modern greenhouse, bright yellow lattice shades an outdoor eating area which is simple and great for seating large groups. The area is decorated with colourful flower pots which brighten up the space. The menu is simple and playful, it is pasted to a large board in front of the cantina opening where they will take your order. With six types of tacos all under six dollars, this place is great for those on a budget. They use an authentic corn taco, as at the Taco Truck, and each taco is served with the obligatory cabbage, spring onion and coriander mix.There is a range of Mexican cocktails, beers, cider and wine for those wanting Thursday or Friday night drinks. Unfortunately they are only open for dinner on the two nights suggested. As the weather is oddly fantastic for Melbourne, we order two Pimms cocktails, two fish tacos, a beef brisket taco, pulled pork taco and a bowl of nachos.
The cocktail is light and refreshing, the perfect drink to kick off our mexican fever. Pimms, ginger ale, cucumber, lemon and mint: the perfect summer combination. The fish taco is incredible, I adore the crisp batter coating the fish bites. The beef brisket melts in the mouth, and I loved the spicy sauce it was marinated in. Miss J enjoyed her pulled pork, but I assume she hated the branch of coriander that it was garnished with, as she despises the herb. One serious issue we both experienced was keeping the taco in tact, the thin layer of taco breaks apart at the first sign of moisture, leaving most of the dish back in the basket. They appeared dry and flaky and not very enjoyable at all. Now I hate to compare, but the Taco Truck doubles up their taco to ensure that it doesn’t break, making it the perfect mess free street food. They should take a hint.
After two tacos our stomachs were begging for more, so we tried a bowl of nachos. Crisp corn nachos served with guacamole, a hot tomato salsa, sour cream and ‘branches’ of coriander. Whilst Miss J digged away happily at the nachos, I found them rather soggy, too much sauce not enough chip. Which sounds absurd because it is usually the reverse problem, but I really did feel like I could have done with less sauce.
For the step-sister of a Spanish owner, this place is tons of fun and relatively fair priced. Although the taco fell apart very easily, the fillings were flavourful and simplistic. They may need to work on their corn taco’s to get Mexican enthusiasts to return. Leave any expectations of Movida at the door otherwise you may be disappointed. A funky lunchtime dig to bring good friends, listen to cool tunes and relax in the sun with a refreshing cocktail. This place is going to be huge…..
To add to this experience we enjoyed a mid afternoon dessert at My Mexican Cousin, the brainchild of a crew of Melbourne’s best restauranteurs and chefs: Salvatore Malatesta(St Ali), Jerome Borazio(Sister Bella), Maurice Esposito (Esposito), Grant Smillie and Andrew McKinnon. The idea is to create Louisianan creole inspired food, to share a relatively uncommon cuisine in Melbourne. Although they have faced heavy criticism regarding the authenticity of their take on creole cuisine, as the daughter of a creole Mauritian father, I was curious to see how Louisianan creole food would connect to my heritage, if at all.
After a quick glance at the menu prices and the suited business crowd, we decided to just try dessert and save the whole experience for another time. We ordered two great coffees and a white rum & coconut sherbet with crumbled popcorn. The latte I ordered never arrived and instead I received a cappuccino. I drank it anyway and enjoyed it immensely. Coconut, rum and popcorn are quintessential creole flavours, so naturally the two paired well. Sherbet is similar to sorbet but dairy is added, which gives it a smooth icy texture. The popcorn gave a unique texture and sweet corn taste. A great dessert on a hot day.
Now to the service, what service? When attempting to pay our bill, we were not only ignored, but when asking a waiter for help he replied that he wasn’t familiar with the system and walked off on us. We were left waiting at the front counter, awkwardly trying to grab the attention of the wait staff who knew we were waiting there to pay. Once we were finally served, we almost felt bad for wanting to pay our bill. This type of service is not the way you treat customers who are eager to come and support your restaurant. This incident tainted my perception of their concept and may change my willingness to return in the future. Great dessert, poor service….My Mexican Cousin Corner of Sturt Street and Southbank Boulevard Southbank (03) 9686 3389