Tag Archives: restaurant

Dining at Mexi Mama

Mexi-Sign-140wTowards the end of last year Mexican cuisine arrived in Hawke’s Bay with three Mexican restaurants opening within months of each
other – Fajitas Mexican Bar and Grill, Main Road, Clive, Mamacita, Havelock Road, Havelock North and Mexi Mama on West Quay in Ahuriri, Napier which is where we are meeting JR’s daughter and her partner and eating tonight.

Mexi Mama_Front Door

From the split skull on the double front doors you get the feeling this place is going to be fun and interesting at the very least and maybe just a little Mexican!

Mexi Mama 004_skeleton

Having got through the front door we are then greeted by this kind chap, however, we hardly have time to make his acquaintance
before we are welcomed by a flesh and blood person.

Even those with just a passing knowledge of Mexican culture are probably aware that Latin American’s have many rituals and rites
associated with death and the afterlife with Mexican images often reflecting this. The theme here at Mexi Mama certainly reflects this, but not in a gloomy or morbid way.

Mexi Mama 029_StTherese

Another very Mexican feature is the shrine to St Therese of Lisieux at which candles are lit each night at eight.

Mexi Mama 009_StTheresePrayer

Now time to look at the menu and as you would expect at a Mexican restaurant in addition to vino and beer there is also a selection of Margaritas, Sangria, a variety of tequilas, mescal, cocteles (cocktails) and beer cocteles (beer cocktails).

We all, however, stick with vino of which there is a fair selection available by the glass for between $9 and $11.50 or beer which ranges from Amstel Light, the least expensive, at $7 a bottle and the others including Corona at $9 to $10.

To start, we order to share: Guacamole con Totopos ($12 single/$17 double) which the menu tells us is ‘Made-to-order guac w/fresh avo, tomato, onion, coriander & sesame seeds accompanied by corn chips’ – the menu description is right on the mark; Salsa de
Molcajete ($10), this salsa of charred tomato, garlic, onion and
seasonal fresh chilli sauce has a good kick to it, tastes light and fresh and is accompanied by corn chips; our third starter, crab dip consists of shredded crab meat mixed into a Colby, feta, Parmesan and cream cheese dipping sauce seasoned with Mexican spices and horseradish and is served warm with corn chips.

Somewhat consumed Guacamole con Totopos & Crab Dip with corn chips – sorry forgot to take pics before we started eating and the salsa was in an even worse state, so no pic.

Somewhat consumed Guacamole con Totopos & Crab Dip with corn chips – sorry forgot to take pics before we started eating and the salsa was in an even worse state, so no pic.

These came to the table together, it was a great way to start the meal while we caught up and decided on our mains. Yes, there do
appear to be a lot of corn chips, but they are pretty sumptuous, there are plenty of dips and there are none left at the end!

There are many good looking dishes on the menu which is laid out in dish types: tostaditas – 4 per board, 2.5 inch crispy tortilla chips with toppings; quesadilla; tacos – 2 per serving, soft corn tortillas (7 inch) with fillings; taco party – for four people, build your own tacos; side sauces; acompañamientos (sides); and postres – something sweet as.

In addition the menu clearly states when dishes are vegetarian,
gluten-or dairy-free and mainly includes whether the dish is mild, medium or hot with most seeming to fall into the middle range.

Aguachile de Pescado

Aguachile de Pescado

After much discussion we decide on our mains and I go for the aguachile de pescado ($12) which is one of the tostadita choices. Served cold, it is ceviche-style fresh market fish, thinly sliced and tossed in a lime, coriander and jalapeño chilli emulsion, piled on
tortilla chips, topped with red capsicum, sea salt and pickled
onions and is light, refreshing and satisfying.

Mayan Quesadilla

Mayan Quesadilla

The guys ordered the quesadillas – one the Mayan and one the chicken (both $15) – these were the most substantial of the dishes we ordered.

The Mayan quesadilla is spicy pulled pork with melted cheese on a flour tortilla with coleslaw and is topped with a coriander
vinaigrette, while the chicken quesadilla is slow-cooked shredded chicken in a chorizo, chipotle, onion and tomato sauce with melted cheese and the same coleslaw as for the Mayan.

Both men say their quesadillas are great and I am able to nab a tiny piece of JR’s chicken quesadilla and it certainly has plenty of
Mexican spiciness and flavour without being overly hot.

Chicken Quesadilla – note the skull candle holder

Chicken Quesadilla – note the skull candle holder

The final choice is the tacos dorados de pollo ($16) – three hard shell rolled chicken tacos topped with salsa, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, avocado dressing and queso fresco – and proclaimed by JR’s daughter to be excellent.

Tacos dorados de pollo

Tacos dorados de pollo

We also ordered a side of frijoles ($6), this homemade black bean dish was spiced with a hint of cumin and topped with sour cream, cheese, tomato and coriander. I love frijoles and these certainly did not disappoint and reminded me I haven’t made them in a long time.

Frijoles

Frijoles

We felt we had had our fill, so didn’t have dessert, but there was a choice of: arroz con leche – rice pudding topped with fresh ground cinnamon and caramelised prune; flan de café – coffee crème
caramel flan; and bunuelos – crispy sweet cinnamon wafer with whipped cream and seasonal fruit. As with the rest of the menu the desserts are reasonably priced at $10.

At the end of the evening we all agreed that it had been a fun dining experience and that we wouldn’t hesitate to return.

Mexi Mama
58 W Quay, Ahuriri, Napier

Ph: 021 100 5174

Open: Tuesday to Saturday from 6pm

Happy cooking and eating.

This meal was independently paid for.

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America’s Worst Chain Restaurant Names

Fatburger

This is just a bit of Saturday fun.

It was something I received the other day from The Daily Meal and something I thought might bring a smile to your faces as it did to mine:)

Would you name your restaurant or café Fatburger or Cheeburger Cheeburger? These are two of the names which appear on The Daily Meal’s list of American’s Worst Chain Restaurant Names.

Have a look and tell me which name you think is the worst or the ‘best’! Have you come across a restaurant, café or food business with a name that has made you ask “Why?”

Happy cooking and eating.

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Lunch at Church Road

It’s been several years since there was a restaurant at Church Road Winery and now for the summer Church Road Winery and Dish Catering have partnered to once again offer a lunch restaurant at this much loved venue.

The concept is innovative and interesting and is based around sharing plates – just perfect for lunch and for those that want to taste more than one or two dishes on the menu – yes that’s me!

The menu recommends two sharing plates per person together with a selection of dishes to begin and conclude. We found that one shared dish to start, two shared plates and two shared side dishes more than satisfied us.

So what did we eat? To start we choose the bruschetta ($7) with basil, vine tomato &
pesto, this simple but perfectly presented dish was exactly what a starter should be light and appetite wetting – the bread was lightly toasted, the tomato perfectly ripe and the basil and pesto fragrant. There is also an option of baccala (creamy whipped salt cod), but unfortunately this was unavailable on the day we were there.

For our sharing plates it was twice-cooked pork belly, hoisin sauce, pickled vegetables & coriander in crispy pancakes ($16.95) – the pork belly was melt-in-the-mouth tender and succulent. The crispy pancake was wrapped around the pork and other ingredients and skewered with a bamboo toothpick to hold it all together. Our other choose was seared
yellowfin tuna with fennel & apple, spring pea, herb dressing & preserved lemon aioli ($19.95), this was a pretty dish with fresh clean flavours.

For our sides it was chorizo polenta chips with beetroot, roast garlic mayonnaise ($7.95) – five bite-sized fried polenta batons each on a skewer making for easy dipping into the
delicious mayonnaise and even easier eating – I was sorry I had to share these with my dining partner! Our other side, which was also excellent, asparagus, soft boiled egg with black pepper mayonnaise & spice sprinkle ($9.95) consisted of a generous serve of
asparagus accompanied by a perfectly cooked soft-boiled egg with just the right amount of mayonnaise.

To finish I could not resist the old fashioned coconut ice ($4.50) which sits under a glass dome on the counter looking tempting and delicious and like the perfect accompaniment to an espresso (short black) coffee ($3) – which it was. There are other sweet treats – French nougat and Turkish delight – as well a selection of desserts.

A friend of mine who has also eaten here recommends the beef carpaccio, goat’s cheese pannacotta, crispy capers, drunken mushrooms & rocket leaves (17.95) and the crispy
calamari, Vietnamese salad, creamy coconut sauce & seaweed sprinkle ($18.95).

The wine and beverage list has many wines by the glass all priced between $7 and $11 and as you would expect most are from the Church Road cellar. Each sharing plate also has one or two wine pairing suggestions.

With its relaxed atmosphere and friendly, knowledgeable and helpful staff I can see this
becoming a popular lunch destination for locals and tourists alike and know that we will be taking visitors there over summer.

My recommendation would be to go with a largish group of people so you taste as many dishes as possible!

Church Road Cellar Door & Restaurant
150 Church Rd, Taradale
Open: 7 days, 11am to 3pm