If you love Cali-Mex (and really, who doesn’t love Cali-Mex) but you’re getting a little tired of the ever-popular sour cream and avocado-laden burritos, wander over to Mamasita’s Cantina, which offers authentic Mexican street food with distinctive Latin flavours.
A warm, inviting restaurant
The homey world of Mamasita’s Cantina can be found after you go up an elevator in Central, where the decor feels welcoming and warm. Multicoloured ceramics line the walls with warm wooden panelling, and bright Latin music can be heard in the background.
Appetisers and desserts are served in an open buffet style, and entrées are made-to-order. Mamasita’s Cantina prides itself on the freshness of their food, and you can see how much care they put into that when you watch the chefs whip up Mexican-style scrambled eggs, crispy pork skin, pico de gallo and guacamole.
Pricey but worth it
We recommend going for the brunch option – the ever-popular joint has a tendency to fill up with older patrons and a rowdier crowd later in the night. The brunch set costs HK$338, which is pricey, but worth it. It’s unlimited service at the buffet so you can go back again and again, and the service is wonderful.
If you’re after a really nice brunch to splurge out on with your friends, this is the one to go for.
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One of the must-have dishes is the delectable pork taco. Savoury pork belly confit, onions, pineapple, and green tomatillos are tossed together and served on bite-sized soft flour tortillas. This dish is absolutely packed with flavour. Our only criticism is that it’s also literally packed too. The sizes are so big that you’ll need a knife and fork to get into it, but what you’ll really want to do is pick it up with your hands.
Mamacita’s Cantina take on Mexican paella, a traditional seafood rice dish, is also one to look out for. It’s a mixture of shrimp, squid, and sauce-covered rice that is served in a sizzling-hot pan. The serving size of this dish is small, but it’s full of flavour. We recommend this one dish for those of you out there with smaller appetites.
Trust us, try the salad
Start your meal filling up on the appetisers – there’s something for everyone here, from salsa, bread, seafood, salad, fruit, and cheese. The sea whelk that we tried was really fresh and juicy. If you’re after a veggie option, we recommend the apple and fennel salad. The crunchiness of the sliced apples goes great with the dressing.
What’s a Mexican meal without tacos? The servings here are small, but the chefs are extremely generous with the fillings. The fish tacos that we tried contained two pieces of cod fish, vegetables and plenty of avocado, and is served with a chipotle dressing. The result? A hearty and delightful dish that has an intriguing blend of mild saltiness and sourness.
Best brisket ever
A highlight of our meal was the Chile rubbed beef brisket, which is served with cabbages and potato wedges. The 24-hour slow-cooked sun-dried peppers and cilantro marinated brisket practically melts in your mouth and is absolutely divine. The texture of the meat along with the crisp crunch of the veggies bumps this dish up as my personal favourite of our visit here.
Save a little space for dessert though – once you’re done with your main meal, get a little exercise in by walking back to the buffet table for the 3 leches en vaso. This is a three-layered milk cake, with cream, milk and milk-soaked sponge cake. It’s sweet, but not overpowering. For the cheese-lovers out there (and we know that’s a lot of you), the Mexican cheese flan is just as good. There is a very strong taste of cheese in the dish, and it isn’t too heavy. In fact, it melts almost instantly the moment you start eating it.
Don’t bother trying to count calories when you’re here though, because the food is so good that you’ll simply want to stuff your face with everything in sight.