Monday, June 9, 2014

Maya Tequila Bar & Grill, South Yarra

Disclaimer: Winston and family dined as guests of Maya Tequila Bar & Grill. All opinions are honest and based on own personal experience at the time.

Flores De Maria - $16
Hibiscus Jamaica Syrup, West Winds Gin, Lime, Martini Rosso

Jimmy's Margarita - $16
Tromba Reposado, Triple Sec, Lime, Agave Nectar

Salsa Habanera Corn Chips - $8
Habanero, orange, corn, pomegranate, coriander

Ellote - $8
Grilled corn cob, chipotle mayo, queso & lime

Ceviche - $14
Snapper, coconut, lime, roasted herb, tostada

Pollo Frito - $14
Crispy Yucatan chicken ribs, jalapeno mayo

El Cordero Asado - $14
Chargrilled spiced lamb ribs, orange, pomegranate

Pollo Mole Tortilla - $14
Slow cooked mole chicken, guac, corn salsa

Chipotle Beef Quesadillas - $16
Shredded Wagyu beef, pico de gallo

Chilli Chocolate Mousse - $10

XO Patron Affogato - $10

Head Chef/Owner Michael from Maya Tequila Bar & Grill contacted me a while ago to tell me about his restaurant. He described it as Modern yet affordable Mexican food, which sounded intriguing. I don't readily accept every offer I get these days, because I'm such a bum. But, something about Michael's enthusiasm about his food and also how personal his email was definitely warmed up to me. His invitation really jumped out of the pile and made me keen to want to drop by. I told him that I had family in town that week and he's generously asked me to take them all along for a nice meal and cocktails on them.

Michael first explained that Maya had actually been around for a while, but he's only really taken over and revamped the entire place from top to bottom (i.e. food, staff, fitout, et al) since late last year. The restaurant was very easy to get to, being in South Yarra. The restaurant had retained a lot of the original materials of the building, but had a new and sexy bar at the back. 

We were first greeted by Michael (jolly as can be) who was standing right in front of the kitchen, personally checking every plate before it gets sent to the table. Excitement was definitely heightened as soon as all the orders were placed after reading all the food on the menu.

Meal was off to a good start. Couldn't go past the corn chips and grilled corn at any Mexican restaurants. It was straightforward but I'm not complaining. I loved the flavour of the coconut with the lime in the ceviche and the lamb ribs were nicely charred and tender. 

Favourite was definitely the chicken ribs here. Michael did warn me I would love the chicken ribs here. I tried to get him to spill the beans on what he used in the seasoning of his batter because it tasted AWESOME but he wouldn't budge. Maybe next time. I would say that the starters were as good as many other places, but still done well and tasty. I enjoyed the variety of dishes we ordered too.

As for the Mains,  I really enjoyed the mole chicken taco. It was bang full of flavour and texture, hard to not enjoy every mouthful. The quesadillas with the braised wagyu was just as delicious too. The crunch from the toasted tortilla, with the flavourful filling and uber gooey cheese was damn good to eat. I must say that there are not a lot of places where I find myself enjoying Mains more than Starters, but this was actually one of them. As for drinks, I'm no cocktail expert but I did think the ones here was mixed quite well.

Finally for Desserts, I was quite disappointed when they told me that they had run out of the cream cheese cigars but no matter, chocolate will do. I think they definitely didn't hold back on the chilli and alcohol in the two desserts. Whether or not they could've taken it down a notch, really does come down to a matter of preference. I was definitely okay with the strong booze content in the affagato (which could be a bit strong for some) but did find the mousse a tad spicy. Although, my sister enjoyed the level of heat in that one. So, who's to say what levels it should be.

Overall, I'm glad to have gotten the invite to come and eat at Maya. Otherwise, I wouldn't have known about them. After that meal, I'm also glad that I have a place that immediately comes to mind when I'm in the mood for some Mexican food. As we all know, there are a few other good ones around but the queues for those places can be quite ridiculous. Maya does pretty solid food and cocktails that's fairly priced and in a nice location too. I can see that they've got a steady stream of business there and am definitely happy for them for that. Would definitely recommend people to Maya if they're looking for a chill place with something different to try. 

Maya Tequila Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

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