Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Fonda Mexican

I'm a terrible person sometimes and don't make it to group catch-ups for various reason, so subsequent catch-ups are required to be organised. Thankfully, some people are willing to put up with my hectic schedule, my misbehaving body and my food blogger ways enough to warrant a dinner out at a fancy talk-of-the-town restaurant.

Fonda Mexican seems to be part of the Mexican (food) wave taking Melbourne by storm. I'm of the opinion that if you've tried it once, there's not much that can surprise you, but even after dining at Mamasita and Pacos Tacos, Fonda served up something unique:

Horchata (with a smoulder)
While that smoulder is certainly something to behold, I was in fact referring to the glass of horchata in his hand; a sweet rice-based drink flavoured heavily with cinnamon. Much lighter than a milkshake, this drink is refreshing and would taste even better sipped in the shade of a tree in the middle of summer. Alas, it's winter in Melbourne, so we'll just have to use our imagination and let our tastebuds take us away to Mexico.

Foodwise, there were both hits and misses, although unfortunately there were more of the latter. I wasn't particularly impressed by the entrees, although that may have been a consequence of our ordering. In hindsight, we should have ordered the charred corn and given the other options a miss.

Tortilla Crisps
The tortilla crisps were certainly crunchy, but I found them, and the accompanying salsa and guacamole, to be lacking flavour. Call me crude, but I'd take a bowl of Doritos over these any day.

My curiosity led me to order chicharons which are simply pork scratchings.

Accidental photobomb! That's about the most exciting thing in this picture. The scratchings didn't hold much flavour, and were more about the airy texture rather than taste. The greatest disappointment for me however were the Fat Chips with chipotle aioli.

Fat Chips
They were floury and slightly soggy, with a distinct lack of crispness on the surface. The aioli wasn't bad, but it couldn't redeem the poor quality of the chips themselves. Like I said, in hindsight, we should have just stuck with the corn.

The mains did slightly better though. I forwent the usual choices and ordered a Grilled Chicken Ensalada with quinoa, black beans, cabbage, coriander, smoked corn, baby peas and a lemon vinaigrette.

Grilled Chicken Ensalada
It was healthy, filling and satisfying. There was a brilliant combination of flavours and textures, and was a generous serving to boot. The cabbage was crunchy, corn added sweetness, the beans and quinoa added depth, and the hint of lemon cut through the flavours nicely. The chicken was probably the least interesting thing in the salad, and as pollo lover, that's certainly something to admire.

I also managed a few bites of the chopped beef burrito, of which there appears to be no photographic evidence. That's not such a big loss because which it was reasonable, it was nothing particularly special.

I did get a photo of the grilled chicken burrito with quinoa, salsa verde, corn, queso fresco and cabbage, but didn't get to taste it.
Grilled Chicken Burrito
I imagine that it would have taste much the same as my salad, just with a tortilla wrapped around it. One dish that I would have liked to have tried was the Chorizo Quesadilla. 

Chorizo Quesadilla
Perhaps it's the lure of the flaky pastry, or the promise of the burst of flavour from the spicy chorizo and smooth cheese, but I had serious food envy when this arrived at the table. It smelt decadent and heart-warming, and it'd be one of the few dishes that might tempt me to return.

Overall, I didn't particularly like this place even though I had great company at dinner. The food is bordering on 'just ok', the music blares too loudly, the venue is too busy and the staff don't have the time or space to really make an effort. The vibe is reminiscent of a fast-food restaurant, and I'm certainly someone who likes to take my time with meals. More conversation, less noise and subsequent yelling, and certainly rushing please. Maybe these "talk-of-the-town" restaurants just aren't for me.

Fonda Mexican
248 Swan Street, Richmond
Sun-Thu 12pm-930pm, Fri-Sat 12pm-1030pm

Fonda Mexican on Urbanspoon


  1. Nice! But I still don't get Melbourne's ovsession with Mex at the moment lol. Touche Hombre, Mamsita, Paco's all nice but lol same old same old hahaha - except maybe desserts :)

    1. I don't understand it either. I'm having fun predicting what the next rage will be. Ethiopian? Nepalese? Who knows!

  2. Damn, I've heard good things about this place so I was disappointed to read that the entrees weren't so good. I think I will still give this place a go though - the chicken ensalada actually looks half-decent - and let you know if I have a better experience :)

    1. Give the corn a try, I think that's what everyone raves about anyway.

      Try the tacos too, I've heard some good things about though :)

  3. Shame you didn't enjoy Fonda that much - I really enjoyed the fish tacos there.

    1. Yeah, if I'm in the area and it's not too busy I might pick up some tacos instead.

  4. Yep, that looks to be some damn fine company you've got there :P But a great big boo to the dodgy food quality. Fingers crossed you went for dessert elsewhere to make up for it. ;)

    1. The boys tried to convince me, I was too upset about the food to bother though. Also, Richmond isn't great for dessert as far as I'm aware :(

  5. Oh no you ordered all the 'miss' dishes! Shame you didn't try any of the tacos, they were actually really good, way better than the quesadillas. I'm surprised to read that you thought the guacamole was bland; I practically ate mine with my fingers! The horchata is amazing though, no arguments.