Tuesday, January 24, 2012
La Cholita, Perth
Wahhooooo! It’s a momentous day, because Perth finally has a good Mexican restaurant! After visiting a couple of disappointing places over the last few years serving inauthentic grease-laden slop, La Cholita is a truly welcome addition to the vibrant Northbridge dining scene. We got there just before 7pm and snaffled the last spot sitting at the bar. Shortly after there was a queue stretching down the street. Something you expect at popular restaurants in Sydney or Melbourne, but something I’d never witnessed before in laid-back Perth!
It’s hard not to pick up on similarities with places like Mamasita and Barrio Chino. The staff are all young, hip things, and I think tattoos must be part of the uniform. The drinks list focuses heavily on tequila, as you would expect, but also has a really interesting wine list ranging from Spain and Portugal to Argentina and Chile. I started with a glass of Sangria, which was perfect for the warm evening, and had me going back for more as soon as my glass was empty.
We were given a variety of condiments – lime wedges, a tangy yoghurt sauce, a green chilli relish and a spicy chilli sauce. We each ordered the Mexican Street corn, since the menu didn’t say you actually got 3 pieces per serve. Not that it really mattered, we polished them off! They were good but I wished there was some coriander to liven them up a little.
As you may have realised by now, I’m powerless to anything involving pulled pork so the Slow-cooked Pork taco with pineapple and onion was a must-order for me. The tortilla itself was a little thick and doughy compared to others I’ve tried, but it was still pretty great. Steve tried the Baja fish taco with chipotle mayo. It was actually a bit disappointing – the batter was quite thick, and I can’t help but think it would have tasted better if the fish had been grilled and served with some crunchy slaw instead.
They misplaced our order for our main dish, Chicken Mole, and the staff were a bit hard to flag down to ask about it. When it finally arrived at our table it was a little different to how we expected. Instead of being cooked in a sauce, the chicken was grilled with a spiced chocolate mixture piled on top. I can’t rave enough about how perfectly the chicken was cooked. The meat was amazingly juicy. The “sauce” was tasty, but a little under-seasoned and I think the spices could have been a lot stronger. It was greatly improved with some chilli from the condiments tray.
We were getting pretty full by this point but we couldn’t leave without having dessert! Especially when there’s dulce de leche ice cream involved! The ice cream was wrapped in pastry and cooked, served with cinnamon sugar and chocolate sauce. It was a delicious, oozy mess that almost had us licking the plate clean.
We enjoyed La Cholita and I’m very happy to find some decent Mexican in Perth. I’m looking forward to going back and trying some of their other dishes, especially the tostadas and quesadillas. I would put it on par with Mamasita in Melbourne in terms of food (good) and service (hit and miss). It does get loud and very busy in there, but the atmosphere is a lot of fun for a catchup with friends over some good food and booze.
La Cholita, 279 William St Northbridge WA (08) 9227 9238
La Cholita, Perth