Margarita $10.50 and a bottle of Pacifico
Los Latinos is a bright star in the rather sad, suburban shopping strip of Mitchell Street, Maidstone. It seems to be the only surviving business here, in the evening at least. This was our second visit and, as it was a Friday night, a margarita and a Mexican beer were eagerly spotted and quickly ordered. It's easy to kick back here and allow the cares of your week to slip away. The shop itself is very simple - no pretension or elaborate features here - just a friendly, honest little shop bringing Latin American cuisine to Melburnians.
Los Latinos' pride and passion for their food is always evident in the enthusiatic recommendations from the waitress. Now celebrating their first anniversary, Los Latinos was certainly busier than on our first visit last year. Tables were filled with families, groups and couples devouring plates of delicious looking food, all freshly made on the premises.
Tex Mex Nachos $11.50
We ate with gusto when our first dish of Tex Mex nachos arrived. Last visit we avoided these as we wanted to try new things, but I have to say these are better than any I've made at home or eaten in a generic cafe. The menu described them (accurately) like so: warm corn tostadas topped with chile con carne, salsa rojo, green tomatillo salsa, spicy cheese sauce, guacamole and sour cream with refried bean sauce.
Arepas de Masorca (Colombian) $9.50
The Arepas de Masorca were next up and undisputedly the dish of the menu. We enjoyed these seared yellow corn cakes topped with melted cheese, grilled chorizo and a dollop of sour cream as much as, if not more than last time. I am a corn fiend and the Mister is mad for chorizo so this is one of those perfectly balanced dishes that caters for both of us.
If these Arepas de Masorca are any indication of the food in Colombia, I need to get myself over there. Given they are the very reason we made a second visit, I have included a second angle (above)!
Tacos de pollo $12.50
Finally, we squeezed in the tacos de pollo or grilled chicken fillet marinated in mexican spices served on soft tortillas with chirrimol, guacamole and a side of salsa roja and smoked hot peppers. These had the least zing of all the dishes we've tried here and we found ourselves adding lots of the chilli sauces from the little dishes provided. I imagine kids might enjoy these with their fresh and mild flavours but we were looking for something that packed a little more flavour punch. Still perfectly enjoyable though and perhaps better enjoyed before bursting, as we were.
It might not have the hip interior or the CBD location, but Los Latinos sure gives Mamasita a run for its money when it comes to standout food and attentive service. Look forward to celebrating their success on their next anniversary and beyond.