Watching the stages of development of Radio Mexico was an easy task as a regular customer of the Galleon Cafe. Once every week or fortnight after my late breakfast I would stroll next door and put my hands and eyes up on the glass hoping to get a glimpse of what was to come. I had a deep down feeling that finally something special was going to open – and it did.
Casual Mexican inspired restaurant and bar, Radio Mexico has been operating for barely two weeks and the locals are all well aware of this. Enjoying their precious space before it explodes big time onto the Internet. Upfront apology to any St Kilda folk that did not want this information leaked to the web, The Chommery just cannot resist but share this eating delight. With their website going live only a couple of days ago, no blogs have been uploaded and the crew are not tweeting their every move, it would explain why the customers seem to mainly be domestic.
The inside has been decked out cleanly and pleasantly. Its a half way point between the next door grunge of Galleon and a Newmarket Hotel restaurant elegance. My verdict is a good balance of both environments, forming a groovy and comfortable space for diners.
If you are thinking oh no, I have seen corn done this way before – boring – then you are entitled to your opinion. For me, I know I have seen it and I know I love it. I’m just going to keep ordering them as my starter here, there and everywhere. Above is the Elotes - corn on the cob with cheese, chilli salt and lime (2 for $6.00). This radio station does a nice job. Soft char grilled kernels, with a thin layer of butter and the shaved parmesan with lime. Love.
What an amazing bonus for coming to a restaurant in the first few weeks – complimentary dishes that were still undergoing trial. When we were offered the Ensalada de Qinoa y Calabaza - Arbol chilli roasted pumpkin with quinoa and sesame ($14.00), we stopped and thought for a second, then obliged. Big ask. We managed. This is a top vegetarian option and was easily shared between the four of us. The pumpkin was cooked softly, the goats cheese (I think) was melted enough to start dripping down the orange pieces and the toasted salted pumpkin seeds were a great final touch.
The Toastaditas de Frijoles - crispy corn tacos topped with blackbeans, slaw and salsa (3 for $15.00) were fresh and scrumptious. Nothing too fancy here, just what you see is what you get – a mouthful of crunch. The green jalapenos were a good touch as they were only mild and not too overpowering.
Camera went a bit loco when I was attempting to photograph the Radio Mexico substitute for nachos, as they like to describe these. We had the Rojo - Red sauce with beans ($10.00). These definitely were a new take on the traditional nachos considering the chips were warmed and become moist with the ‘red’ sauce and the cheese oozing down. All at the table enjoyed these and nothing was left over (not that it’s saying much for me). You make up your own mind – does Radio play nachos like you like to eat them?
Only after ordering our first few sharing dishes, did I realize there was a back side to the menu. Needless to say, I felt like a kid again, as if I had discovered lost treasure. In this case, the treasure was the tacos – I wanted all of them. The tacos were served firm and at room temperature. We attempted to order a range of toppings. I think we did pretty well. The above is the Baja - Beer battered fish, pico de gall and slaw. The golden fried piece of fish sat in the middle of that taco glistening for a total of 5 seconds while I snapped a piccy. Then it was gone forever. Note: all the tacos are $6.00 bar the bugs ($12).
Presenting on the left we have the Barbacoa - the slow cooked organice saltbush lamb, red cabbage and salsa. On the right we have Carne Asada - BBQ hanger steak with queso fresco, lettuce and salsa. I cannot tell a lie (that’s a lie) – I did not try either of these. I did speak to the lovely ladies that chommed these two delights and their verdict was ‘mad’ tacos. Plush pieces of red meat, drizzled with marinade accompanied by just the right amount of veggies for an epic eating pleasure. What a broadcast!
The Camaron - Chipotle prawn and slaw also went down a treat. Rolled him up tight and ate it as if it were an edible cigar. The prawns were fresh. Furthermore it was good to see two prawn brothers on the taco – would have been upset if he was an only child.
Side by side the pulled pork tacos stand like soldiers ready for battle. They were called the Al Pastor - Otway free range pork caritas with pickled jalapeno and charred pineapple. These two were presented so nicely for battle, but did not stand a chance against us. They lost and were demolished super fast – story of my life. The goodness of the pulled pork was sweet and beautiful. Only issue – it getting stuck in the old chompers.
According to trustworthy sources, the full menu has not yet been released. We are still in the soft opening weeks and bit by bit this crew is releasing more authentic Mexican cuisine for the feast. I for one have no complaints if the menu continues to expand. It works well for my soon to be next visit and most likely again after that. With much of the same blood, management and staff shared between Radio and Galleon you should know you will be in very capable hands.
Take some time out and tune into Radio Mexico.
The Important Details…
Cuisine: Melbourne Mexican
Noise: Buzzing like a bee
Bookings: No – so get in early
Suitable for: Young - middle aged
Price: roughly $30 p.p
My View: Fresh, clean, delicious Mex
Address: 11 Carlisle Street, St Kilda
Phone: (03) 9534 9990