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Saturday, 16 March 2013

Hot Saturday lunch at Maldito Mendez, Ponsonby Central

The Auckland food scene has been pumping  in the last 6 months with numerous new food joints popping out every other week and I can't be happier. I have to say I am getting really spoilt by the choices, so diverse  and exciting. There is also a new wave of casual dining eateries / bistros with some young talents behind it. One of the promising new joint to look out for is Maldito Mendez in Ponsonby Central serving central South American food. The first time I came across their food was  at  Grey Lynn Festival 2011when they were operating from a food truck.They must have done really well and now have a permanent  place for their followers to find them 7 days a week.

The place is not very big therefore it feels rather cosy and welcoming.There's an open kitchen where you can see all the food being prepared. The kitchen looks basic and I love watching people preparing the food that I am going to eat. You have to order and pay for your food at the counter. The staff are really easy-going and approachable even though it was a very busy Saturday afternoon. Service is basic but it doesn't leave you feeling unappreciated.  I kinda like that because it freaks me out when the staff keep coming back to ask how my meal is going but they actually don't really care.

The prices are very affordable, between $10 to $15 for most meals and around $28 for bigger shared plates. Since I didn't know how big the portions are here and there's only 2 of us, I ordered conservatively because the tables are small and I didn't want to look I was a participant on Survivors. I ordered a Grilled Fish Taco with capsicum, limes and chillies. It was delicious. The portion is not big but leaves you satisfied with the fresh ingredients. You definitely need more than one taco to fill your hunger if you are not eating anything else.

Next up was the dainty Watermelon Salad with feta,coriander and green tomatoes. I have never eaten watermelon with anything else other than itself. It is refreshing and not weird at all with the feta cheese. It fact it highlights the sweetness of the watermelon.

Our favourite dish was the Fish Ceviche with blood orange, watercress and mango. The whole dish just comes together so well without any of the garnishing taking too much attention away from the tender fish. Just like how Manu from MKR would say 'magnifique'.

I would happily come back with a couple of friends any time. The atmosphere is casual, the food is fantastic and prices are very reasonable for the fantastic food that is being served. Ponsonby Central is becoming a melting pot of great food and I am not complaining. Just wish that parking around here would be easier but it's never too much hassle for some great food with friends.
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