Sunday, 1 June 2014

South of the border {La Tortilleria review}

"OK this stop is in the middle of nowhere. Is there somewhere I should go? Or just wait?" said the text message from the tram stop on Racecourse Road.

I knew then that she had got off at the correct tram stop. I called back "I'll be there in a minute, you can probably see me power-striding towards you."

La Tortilleria really is in the middle of nowhere. You turn South off Racecourse road just near the Citylink overpass and head down Stubbs St, filled with offices and industrial buildings.
stubbs street from racecourse road

Just when you think you may have taken the wrong street you come upon the bright mural that graces the side of La Tortilleria- a little oasis in the middle of an urban desert
la tortilleria view from stubbs street

We were led to our table past the glassed-off tortilla factory, through a maze of hallways and small rooms and into a Mexican nana's lounge room, complete with crochet doily table-toppers. It felt terribly cosy and reminded me of my Nona's house.
la tortilleria has a nana lounge room feel

A little bowl of house made corn chips and salsa appeared while we perused the drinks menu
homemade corn chips and salsa

There is a concise wine list with a mixture of Argentinian, Uraguayan and Spanish wines, a range of local and imported beer, sangria and of course tequila based cocktails.
la tortilleria drinks menu

My buddy ordered the tamale of the day
Chicken tamale at la tortilleria kensington

unwrapped chicken tamale la tortilleria
The best way I can describe it is the Mexican equivalent of an a bao- soft steamed corn dough with tender chicken in the middle

I went for a zucchini flower quesadilla
zucchini flower quesadilla la tortilleria
Lots of zucchini flower, maybe pickled because there was a tangy vinegary flavour, with loads of toasty cheese.

Of course we had to get tacos- Beef
beef taco la tortilleria

And pork
pork taco la tortilleria with pineapple
So much meat on the tacos! I had to eat half of it before wrapping up the rest in the double tortilla and munching down. Definitely not complaining though. The meat is beautifully charred and tender and the tortillas (made on site and sent to all the big-name Mexican restaurants around) have a lovely slightly grainy texture and good corn flavour. Plus they give you two of them per taco so that you can get a decent wrap happening. There are squeezy bottles of chipotle sauce on the table if you want some extra punch.

Both tacos were fantastic but the pork won by a narrow margin with its crispy meat and chunks of caramelised pineapple which added some juicy sweetness.

We shared a piece of their famed vanilla flan for dessert. Dense and custardy with lashings of bitter toffee sauce. Like a grown up creme caramel.
vanilla mexican flan la tortilleria

This place is great value. For less than $35 I had two glasses of wine, two tacos, a quesadilla and a shared dessert (and was quite full).

frida kahlo toilet art
Oh, and Frida Kahlo watches you pee.

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La Tortilleria on Urbanspoon


  1. Not to sound like a total dork but that looks like the restaurant I saw recently on channel 10's Offspring .. I remember thinking how pretty and cheerful the lanterns looked!

    Anyway, some of the best restaurants are off the beaten track :), the food looks wonderful. You're so lucky to live in Melbourne, I've become so tired of Brisbane lately!

    1. I don't watch 'Offspring' (I know, I know....) but I wouldn't be at all surprised if it is the same place. You see the location scout and I are psychically linked. My favourite local pub in Fitzroy also turned out to be Nina's local in the first series. A visiting friend was terribly excited when she recognised it.


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