In a city where the promise of “classy Mexican” raises more eyebrows than another proposed start date for smartcards on trams, it’s no wonder the hordes are queuing for three-month old tequila and taco bar Mamasita.
Warning: the line to even get on the waiting list can descend down the stairs and out into the Paris end of Collins Street.
No bookings, so get there early or expect to be a few wines past merry by the time you sit down to dinner.
There’s no hurry though – the full menu runs until 11 or so, with tacos and quesadillas a-plenty until close.
Once in, the room bustles, the staff charm and the food thrills with punch after piquant punch.
You must start with the elote – the charred cobs of corn smeared in smoky chipotle mayo, strewn with creamy queso fresco and served with lime are the most fun you’ll ever have in this town for $3.80.
From there, maybe soft corn tacos crammed with zingy “raised right” roast chicken or grilled fish with spicy achiote paste, lime and salsa.
Or tostaditas – which may trump patatas bravas as my new ultimate drinking nibble – tortilla chips dolloped with little taste explosions, perhaps of braised pork shoulder with jalapeno or market fish with spicy guacamole.
Or go for the earthy mushroom and Mexican truffle quesadilla, which sings with a splodge of the house pico de gallo salsa that sits on each table.
The unctuous chicken mole is so much more than the sum of its chilli and chocolate parts and probably best balanced with one of the imaginative salads rather than a side of fried plaintains, however tempting.
It might even leave you room for the caramelised flan or at least some artfully sliced pineapple with mint and lime.
Food this fun needs nothing more than a cold Sol beer, but there’s a killer wine and cocktail list should the mood take you.
Worth the wait.
Level 1, 11 Collins St, Melbourne