|Inside My Mexican Cousin|
My Mexican Cousin has done its best to turn this state of befuddlement into some positive publicity by cleverly enlisting Burger Mary as a consultant and revamping its menu. When the restaurant hosted a Fringe Food Festival event on Creole food it seemed to be a signal that My Mexican Cousin was working through its issues (even if the owners had strangely decided to stick with the Mexican name).
I went there for lunch with my friend Joyce who writes the brilliant Mel: Hot or Not. The restaurant is part of the Melbourne Recital Hall building and is all shiny and new with dark wooden tables and chairs and a bright mural on wall which is an ode to Louisiana Hot Sauce. At least the mural is not Mexican I suppose.
Knowing that Creole food is a cuisine most Melburnians will be unfamiliar with the menu includes a long explanation of Creole cuisine and a “Creole-pedia” to explain the terms used. My experience of Creole food is limited to a trip to Salvador in Brazil so the menu was certainly educational if nothing else. Newly enlightened we ordered up Creole style starting with the praline bacon ($6), strips of bacon candied with brown sugar and pecan nuts. On paper this sounded like the sort of thing I would love but in reality it was too dry and too much sugary bacon for two people.
The scallop ceviche ($5.50) was also not what I expected. Instead of thinly sliced scallops “cooked” in lime or lemon juice we were served two large scallops on a bed of pea purée. They looked good and were a welcome antidote to the heavy emphasis on deep fried food on the rest of the menu but were a little strange. Dirty rice ($12) a mixture of rice, ground pork and Creole seasoning was a tasty style of fried rice but was so dripping in oil that there was a big puddle at the bottom of the bowl once we finished eating.
The one redeeming dish was the PoBoy ($17), juicy fat deep fried prawns sandwiched between crisp cos lettuce and a dense bun and dripping with mayonnaise and creole seasoning. This was very much a conversation stopper and all we could manage was approving noises for the next couple of minutes as we ate our PoBoys.
However, to add insult to injury the delicious sounding Louisiana dougnuts known as beignets ($12) were a little tough and tasted to me like they had not been deep fried to order. Even the salted caramel dipping sauce they were served with could not make amends. Continuing the theme, the coffee ($3.80) was on the bitter side.
While I admire My Mexican Cousin for bringing a new type of cuisine to Melbourne and for avoiding the traditional theatre foyer type offerings at the moment the food is disappointing. I would only return for a cheeky glass of wine at the bar and a PoBoy sandwich.
Details: My Mexican Cousin, Melbourne Recital Centre, Corner of Sturt Street and Southbank Boulevard, Southbank 3006 (Ph (03) 9686 3389) Mon 7-4, Tues – Fri 7 – late, Sat – Sun 8- late.
Damage: Reasonable. Our bill came to $56 for two with just one coffee and no other drinks.