Thursday, 16 May 2013

Friday nights @ Acland Street Cantina

Location: 2 Acland Street, St Kilda
Phone: (03) 9536 1175
Cuisine: Mexican
Overall Impression: 9/10

A sexy, gritty space devoted to the worship of Mexican food and drinks, combined with tunes from resident DJ Happy Juan, means Acland Street Cantina (ASC) presents a seductive Friday night proposition.

It is not surprising that its lofty bar side stools and dining tables are rarely vacant.
Gastrology bloggers returned to ASC to celebrate the end of the working week and test drive their drinks list and selection of "masa delicacies" (tacos, bocoles, empanadas, tamales and quesadillas).
The word "masa" refers to the dough used to make tortillas and tamales, and the "masa delicacies" selection features a variety of constantly evolving and alluringly tasty morsels that are a delight to indulge in over a few relaxing beverages.
The drinks list has a distinctly Mexican focus - from tequilas, cocktails (and of course tequila cocktails) to imported beers and wines, the range is wide ensuring there is something to suit all tastes.
Blue corn tacos with prawn, wild mushrooms and epazote 

The strong herbal perfume of the epazote permeated the fresh prawns and wild mushrooms. The beautiful blue corn tacos added earthiness and texture.

Black bean bocoles with veracruz salsa and seared scallops 

The black bean bocoles were beautifully crispy on the outside and were deliciously savoury and creamy on the inside. The scallops were sweet and fresh. This is one of our favourite dishes from ASC.
Wild mushroom and huitlachoche quesadillas with goat's cheese crema 

Drawing inspiration from a simple Mexican snack food, ASC has transformed this dish into something quite special. The lovely warm tortilla acted as a soft blanket enveloping what was a flavour explosion of wild mushrooms, earthy huitlachoche (Mexican truffle) and creamy goat's cheese crema.
Bohemia braised lamb short rib empanadas with mission fig black mole

One of our all-time favourites! The wonderfully flaky empanadas are filled with melt in your mouth slow cooked lamb and drizzled with sweet mole sauce. Topped with jammy figs, the empanadas are just beautiful.
Spanner crab tamales with adobe sauce (sweetcorn dumplings, spanner crab and smokey chipotle sauce

Served in classic Mesoamerican style, the tamales arrived tucked in corn husks. Generous amounts of sweet spanner crab flesh were dispersed throughout the sweetcorn dough. There is something about the sweetcorn dough used to make the tamales that is simply moreish.
Our savouries ended with our favourite mole - red mole with Tallabrook goat.
Our Friday night ended with a decadent bang.
Triple chocolate and chilli trifle with passionfruit 

Relatively light, the dessert is well-balanced with the perfect hint of tartness (courtesy of the passionfruit) to cut through the creaminess of the chocolate. The chilli provides a nice warmth and rounds off the dessert nicely.
 Spiced chocolate caramel with peanut butter ice cream 

The spiced chocolate caramel paired with the buttery ice cream was a match made in heaven.  
Milk chocolate and peanut sublime, candy bar style 

As the name suggests, this dessert was certainly sublime. The candied nuts provided a lovely textural element and counterbalanced the smooth chocolate "candy bar". Rich and decadent, this was a naughty dessert.
Salted caramel ice cream churros tacos 

The salted caramel ice cream churros taco is ASC's dessert pièce de résistance. Piped into a flat "taco", the churros were puffy and light on the inside and deliciously crisp on the outside. And what other word can you use to describe velvety, decadent salted caramel ice cream apart from yum?
While there are many Mexican restaurants serving caricature, fast food versions of Mexican cuisine, the dishes at ASC display a sophistication, authenticity and attention to detail that makes it unrivalled in Melbourne.
The chefs bring a polish and precision to Mexican cuisine that is rare in Melbourne - every dish we have ordered from our numerous visits has been perfectly seasoned and consistently excellent. ASC is definitely one of this year’s ‘it’ restaurants.
Start your boozy night on the tequila right here. With a wonderful drinks menu and a mouthwatering menu, ASC is brilliant for a Friday/ Saturday night celebration. And to tempt you further, there are weekly cocktail happy hours that run from 9 - 11pm ($10 cocktails, $25 cockjugs). We will keep you up to date about future events and specials from ASC!

Acland St. Cantina on Urbanspoon

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