Since La Cholita opened its doors in the closing end of 2011, I have been a regular diner at this kitchy little establishment. Yes, I see the reviews on Urbanspoon where people constantly slam the place, and complain about the service, but for me, all the times I have been there the staff have been attentive, the food extremely flavoursome and the price more than reasonable.
I rave about this restaurant to all who haven’t been, and its a regular eating spot for my best friend Carly and I. We love it and don’t really understand why others don’t. Yes, it is somewhat annoying that you can’t book tables – but that just means get there earlier. Or have a seat in the waiting area with snacking on some entradas or tostadas.
What I particularly like is that when you arrive, the service staff greet you with bottled water without asking, as well as a little foursome of accompaniments for your food. Red chillis crushed in one bowl – hot and very yummy. Green in another – sweet but not hot (to me). Yoghurt to cool your palate down and lime wedges for that extra zing. There’s also a bottle of extra hot chilli sauce on the table for all those hot heads who live their life in the chilli lane.
On this particular night I went down with three of my friends, getting a seat straight away (always a bonus even though the wait isn’t usually too long). It’s a cold blistery night in winter and this kind of food is a nice bright spark in this grey weather.
We started off with a guava jarritos to drink while snacking on guacamole with a crispy flour tortilla ($6). The avocado is perfectly ripe, seasoned with the right balance of lime juice and salt. The deep fried strips of flour tortilla are a great accompaniment, salty and crunchy without being oily. I always need to order more of these because they just taste so great.
Next up came the mexican street corn ($5.50), which is a set of three quarter cobs on toothpicks, smothered in a buttery mayonnaise type sauce and a heedy concoction of mixed spices and pepper. Yum. The corn is hot and juicy, popping in your mouth as you bite down. Its a stark difference to the corn that Mamasitas in Melbourne (the place La Cholita is always compared to) which is rolled in gooey cheese and a different mix of spices all together.
We were making our way down the menu, with food arriving at different intervals of our dinner. The tostadas came next ($6 for each kind) – little crispy taco shells with a range of toppings sitting on top. My favourite dish here is the crab and avocado tostada (I always end up eating way too many). It’s sweet meat, piled high with mushed avocado and pickled onion strips. The dish is zingy and fresh. It makes your mouth sing with from the phenomenal flavours.
The next tostadas we went for were the beef tartare. Tender minced meat that has a great lemony taste and coated in a creamy sauce. Not for those who can’t stomach raw beef, but definitely delicious. I’m a big fan of this menu item too (are you sensing a trend yet?). The last tostada we shared between us was the chicken and corn salsa. The chicken is a different texture than you’d expect – soft and almost silky but the taste is all there and as usual, it’s seasoned just right. No heavy flavours or dishes here!
We all went for different tacos – the selection being baja fish ($6), beef cheek ($5) and slow cooked pork ($5). Mine and Linda’s choice was the fish – deep fried in a light and crispy batter, smothered in beautifully creamy chipotle mayonnaise and more of that great pickled onion that featured on the crab tostada. I chose this dish the first time I ate it after seeing the service staff walk past with it. I knew I had to have whatever it was. And since then, it’s a dish I always like to order.
Jay went for the beef cheek taco – a juicy offering of meat sitting on that soft flour tortilla and garnished with pico de gallo. The beef is cooked so its falling apart with an earthy taste. It looks impressive and tastes great too. Vee chose the slow cooked pork taco, which has fresh chunks of pineapple and that pickled onion. Very mexican flavours. Very moorish.
Next up was our chorizo quesadilla (most of my friends’ favourite dish). It’s four wedges of quesadila ($12) with minced chorizo inside and queso corelo cheese oozing from within. The outside is crispy, the inside soft. It tastes even more amazing with the added red chillis that are offered as a complimentary side to all dishes.
Finally we ended our meal with one item from the fuertes (big things) list. The wood grilled angus beef with chimichurri ($26). Its a nice slab of beef that has soaked up the smokiness of the wood fired oven that sits in the restaurant itself. The meat is tender and pink in the middle; the chimichurri fresh like all the dishes in this place.
After all that food, its safe to say I am an extremely satisfied customer.
I highly recommend this restaurant. Ignore the blasts from grumpy Perthites who think that they know good food because they’ve travelled as far as Margaret River and had fresh venison. Nothing is ever enough for many people in this town. Because everyone I know (and many are foodies), they love La Cholita. The decor is funky and dark, the staggering range of tequilas impressive and both the cocktails and food yum.