Last night I finally got to check out Mamasita and see what all the fuss is about. We (Jina, Penny and Cheryl) arranged to meet at 6.30pm, wrongly thinking we had a shot at walking straight in to a table on a Tuesday night. Jina left her name and number for when a table would be free at around 7.30. Already hungry, we decided to head across the road to Collins Quarter for a drink and perhaps a bite to eat, wrongly thinking (again) there would be some dips or something to share.
We perched at the bar before the friendly barman seated us in a booth despite our feeble protests that we would only be having a drink and nibble. The menu looks tempting but nothing really suitable for pre-dinner tasting so we ordered a bowl of shoestring fries to pass the hour. We ordered from Miss Attitude who was clearly inconvenienced by having to unset the dinner plates and she did her best to make us feel quite uncomfortable about this. This is not how we wanted to start the night.
Now, I will mention here my experience working in the hospitality and service industry. I have a passion for the hospitality industry and have worked in cafes, restaurants and private functions for many years. It’s a rare streak of freakish nature but I do love to serve others, doing what I can (within the professional capacity of the venue) to ensure everyone has a sensational night out, one that is remembered and talked about for all the right reasons. And so I feel I have some kind of fair and justified sense about certain situations.
We finished our drinks and chips and went to pay. One of the lovely ladies I was dining with (Jina, you’re a gem!) mentioned to the guy taking our moolah that we’d not had a pleasant experience and would have preferred our drinks without a side of attitude from the waitress (ok so she didn’t say that exactly but something along those lines). It was in a calm and reasonable manner and I closed the conversation with a ‘I’m sure she’s just having a bad day but it really did make us feel uncomfortable’. In between there somewhere we did mention we were just popping in for a pre-dinner drink and nibble before out Mamasita seating. He was terribly apologetic and genuine.
We headed back to Mamasita and were seated at the awesome table next to the kitchen. As you would expect from a Mexican restaurant the vibe was buzzing and the Spanish comida (food) aromas were wafting from the cocina (kitchen en espanol). We were feeling very cosy and excited by the selection of share plates and the delightful waitress explained the dishes and recommendations.
As we were commenting how much better this experience was than Collins Quarter we looked up and saw the guy who took our bill at Collins Quarter striding towards us. We looked at him confused, he looked at us with an apologetic grin and said, (again, I paraphrase) “I felt so bad and I’m mates with this guy here (points to Mamasita manager) so I wanted to apologise again and buy you a glass of wine each to make it up to you. You’re the kind of clientele we want in our venue and I am just so sorry you had a bad experience.”
All is forgiven! I was shocked in a good way by this level of customer care and will be back to Collins Quarter for dinner at some point as the menu did look great. Our new best friend, manager Scott (also a bit cute – bonus!), made things right. He turned a potentially bad situation around which was definitely a plus because I know the other ladies will be blogging about the night in detail too!
In fact, for me, he has managed to steal some of the spotlight from Mamasita. This blog post was supposed to be about the good food, good service and great atmosphere of the Mexican joint but it has been overtaken by this gallant gesture of customer service. This is the kind of service that gets me excited, the kind I hope I’ve shown to patrons in the past. This is an example of the kind of influence good people and good staff can bring to a business.
Now that story is told and digested, here is what we digested last night (full menu here): assortment of fish, pork, chicken and crab tostaditas; chicken quesadilla; truffle and mushroom quesadilla; cactus salad; lamb with chilli and jalapeno; sweet corn with chilli and lime.
And for dessert: mint flan with caramel, chilli chocolate pudding, banana fritter with ice-cream.
The company I was in was the highlight of the evening. It was awesome getting to know the girls better and they’re such a good blogging influence, so much so I even took more pics than I’ve ever taken before (mainly because I’ve already eaten the food before remembering to photograph it). Thank you ladies – it was an absolute joy and delight.
For me the food was good. Not spectacular but when you savour the experience as a whole – food, drinks, service, atmosphere, venue – it was a great night out. I would recommend this place for groups so you can book and so you can compete with the noise level. We enjoyed the evening but personally, I wouldn’t hurry back there or wait over an hour for a table. But do try it – so many people rave about it. I have also been spoiled having worked in a Spanish restaurant in Sydney so I’m probably not the best person to give an unbiased review.
For my next Spanish flavour I would like to try Bar Lourinha.
MAMASITA: Mexican Restaurant and Bar • Level 1, 11 Collins St • Melbourne • AUS • Open 6 Days • +61 3 9650 3821