72 Stubbs Street Kensington, VIC, 3031
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
- Dinner from 6:00pm onwards
- Lunch from 12:00pm to 2:30pm
- Lunch from 11:30am to 3:00pm
- Dinner from 6:00pm onwards
Located in a small industrial street in Kensington lies a brightly painted blue building serving some of Melbourne's most impressive Mexican cuisine. On first appearance La Tortilleria resembles a brothel from the late 1990's; delicately lighting up the street with a chain of fairy lights and a mysterious queue of people weaving up the wooden staircase it creates and enticing yet slightly seedy atmosphere. Parking on Stubbs street is next to impossible, so unfortunately for the designated driver leaving your car in narrow side streets is the only stress free option. Since their recent appearance on the television series Postcards La Tortilleria has become the new 'it' venue, meaning bookings are essential for larger groups of people. The floor space is crammed and there doesn't seem to be enough chairs for the demand of customers entering through the door.
I had booked ahead which was probably the only way that I could get a table at 8pm on a hectically busy Saturday evening. The staff rushed through the narrowly set tables and delivered meals to other patrons, it did take quite some time to be offered a menu, or be greeted by any staff. This is one of the draw backs of the venue, however, it is not a deal breaker.
La Tortilleria make their own tortillas on the premises and as you wait to be served the large industrial machinery sits patiently and quietly in the corner of the building.
The business was started by Mexican born Gerardo Lopez and avid Australian traveller Diana Hull. When tasting the food and observing the decorations that cover all of the walls and hidden nooks of the building it is evidently clear that La Tortilleria is truly authentic and brings honest, delicious Mexican food to hungry Melbournian's.
The menu is quite basic but everything is made to order and uses local Australian produce. The menu consists of tacos, quesadillas and sopes (a thick tortilla base with beans and meat). I highly recommend the amigos share platter; appropriately named the platter gives you a choice of 8 or 12 different menu options. The platter is a lot cheaper then ordering everything separately and allows you to try a range of things. The portion sizes are small, so if you have a large appetite I would say there is no harm in ordering a few extra tacos.
La Tortilleria is licensed and only have Mexican beer for sale (which is brilliant), it was also great to see that they were embracing some breweries other then Sol and Corona, which allows you to sample some Mexican beer that nicely accompanies your meal. There is also a large range of Mexican juices and soft drinks available, this small product list creates the feeling of being over seas and venturing out of your comfort zone.
The next time anyone says to you "I feel like Mexican, do not let them take you to a nasty franchised venue filled with canned meat and stale tortillas. La Tortilleria is worth the hype and struggle to get a table; the food is delicious, clean and local which ticks all the major boxes for any foodie and lover of spicy foreign cuisine. Best said by the Spanish, provecho!