El Sabor Mexican Grill & Bar
Mexican feast at El Sabor, a hidden gem situated at North Melbourne along Victoria Street. There aren’t too many Mexican restaurants in this area, so if you live around this region, this place should be under your must visit list. Dhi, the current director of El Sabor had prepared a storm for us tonight. Most of the main dishes served at El Sabor are gluten free, and this place is pretty much heaven for those on a gluten free diet. Tortillas used are corn tortillas, and fried batters are also made with corn flour. Even if you are not on a gluten free diet, everything was made out great and taste was not compromised with all these gluten free substitutes.
Sangria El Sabor
To start Jan got a jug of Sangria that can pretty much fill up two glasses. It had a distinct red wine taste with a little bit of brandy. The cut out apples on the glass made the drink sweeter and Jan said it tasted pretty damn amazing.
These drumlets and wings used up 12 different kinds of spices grilled to perfection, from paprika, cumin, coriander, cayenne and many more. Our first instinct was how it reminded us of good old aromatic satays. We especially loved how the skin absorbed all of the spices making it a hundred times better than normal wings.
The calamari frites was one of the best I have ever eaten. The cornstarch batter and various spices made it unique. It was served with calamari capers and salsa brava on top. Calamari and guacamole, two of my favourite things! Hence dipping the fritos with guacamole and lemon aioli was absolutely phenomenal.
Dhi let us try the more exotic Mexican dishes that we wouldn’t usually order when coming to a Mexican restaurant. I was so used to ordering tacos, burritos, quesadillas, ensaladas, and we would usually circle around these variation. Tonight was something else, and we got to try a more traditional Mexican dishes we have never tried before. Sopes is like bruschetta of a fist sized. Its base its made out with cornstarch to replace Spanish maize (flour). The toppings can be a variation of any meat, but ours came with cochinita pibil, basically slow roasted pulled pork. It was sandwiched with tomato salsa at the bottom, and cut out apples on the top. The base was almost soft-cookie like in texture and the whole thing just cracks a delicious punch.
Tamales De Pollo
Next was Tamales, a type of main dish which in this cased cooked with chicken and ancho chillies. It was steamed and then grilled in leaf wrappers. The surrounding layer that covers the chicken were corn flours. Dhi mentioned that many people were still clueless of eating Tamales the right way. The leaves are to be discarded and you are supposed to only eat what’s within. I thought the Tamales was ordinary, but it was really good with the added guacamole, sour cream and fresh salsa.
Pescado – Fish Tacos
The Fish Tacos were absolute winners for me. They used spiced crispy fried fish in in soft corn tortilla. The guacamole and chipotle mayonnaise were overflowing when we tried to press it together for a bite. Its good when it overflows, because the more sauce, the better! Trust me to order the fish tacos when you are here!
Res – Pulled Beef Tacos
These beef tacos are hard shelled because they were deep fried. Inside was extreme succulency, truly magnificent with every bite.
The Churros were done perfectly the way it should be. It was served right off the frier so it was still warm when it was on the plate. The milk chocolate was sweet but a little dark, and I just loved it so much that I practically drink the chocolate syrup till it was all wiped out. The Churros aren’t gluten free just so you know.
I wasn’t a fan of the Flan, and Jan liked it more than I do. I expected this Mexican caramel custard to resemble puddings but it wasn’t anything like it. It was unbearably sweet, and the texture was too dense for my liking.
The interior of El Sabor Mexican Grill & Bar is quite dainty and homey with simple chandeliers; hanging Mexican hats; framed mirrors; whimsical and colourful skeletons as icons from the day of the dead. These mortality symbols are very culturally appealing, and that makes the fun and twice the charm. There are also extra dining spaces upstairs, a more private area that would be good for function events. Thanks Dhi for accommodating us and preparing such scrumptious dishes for us. We very much enjoyed our meal here and Happy Cinco De Mayo everyone!
Thu to Fri: 11.30am-3pm
Sat to Sun: 6pm-10.30pm