• Touché Hombre (Lonsdale Street, Melbourne)

Mexican street food is still all the rage, and now, after having visited Mexico DF and its markets, I have a taste for the real thing.  I love markets when I am travelling, and in Mexico I discovered busy spots that were full of flavour with freshly made quesadillas, enchiladas and burritos like nothing I had tried at home.  Coriander, chilli and lime were the flavours holding together every dish, be it a mushroom stuffed flat corn wrap, or a flour based bread with onions and beans.  Plus food was cheap and vegetarian.  There were no problems filling my belly in the home of this popular cuisine.

So after such good memories, I was happy to try Touché Hombre, a newish institution on Lonsdale Street.  They pride themselves on easy street food in a cool environment, and are often used in the same sentence as the marketing phenomenon Mamasita.

We arrived early and got a table with high stools to the right of the loud, wooden room.  The waiter soon arrived with a casual manner and a soft voice so that we had to concentrate too hard to hear what he was saying.  How many dishes should we order?  What can you recommend?  Is this vegetarian?

Soon I was happy with a beer that’s name I had not heard from the quiet waiter but later found out was a “Thunder Road”, a bowl of nachos and an enlivened conversation with my friend who I had not seen for a long time and was about to travel to Mexico.  We were starting the evening well.

The nachos could have been described as gourmet with their hand textured chips, fresh salsa and generous squirting of smooth guacamole.  The toppings were plentiful, so there was no need to fight over the most flavoursome chips.  The spring onions also added a nice touch.  So far “yum” was the word that came to mind to describe Touché Hombre’s food.

Next we had a couple of soft tacos next.  Mine were the ‘Haloumi’ and the ‘De Huitlacoche’.

The Haloumi one held haloumi that had been crumbed and fried like what I imagine KFC would be like, slices of peach which had been cooked and rounds of cucumber.  Whilst it looked attractive and sounded creative, the flavours did not really blend.  The haloumi on its own was tempting with the harder cheese made even more sinful with a fried, crispy coating.  The peach slices did not have the natural sweetness of caramelisation as described on the menu, but were still tasty.  This was a dish were the ingredients would have been tasty on their own, but were not complementing together.

I preferred the second one, although the moisture from the mushrooms had the base falling apart by the time I got to eating it.  The waiter explained that huitlacoche is a truffle that grows out of a kernel of corn.  I asked him if that was a true story.  He said it was.  The truffle mushroom combination is always a good one, and the sweet corn and cheese brought this one together.  Unlike the first one, the flavours here were well blended and tasty.

As our meal went on, we were asked to squish over so that another pair could join our small table.  It was not a problem, we were leaving soon anyway.

Whilst Touché Hombre does not, of course, provoke food reminiscing to the extent of street food in Mexico,  it maintains flavour and enough vegetarian options to entertain a fussy foodie.

Touché Hombre
Corner Tattersalls Lane & Lonsdale St
Melbourne 3000
03 9663 0811
Touché Hombre on Urbanspoon