As one who believes guacamole was invented by benevolent gods, I’ve been keenly awaiting the opening of Senoritas. I first heard of the Ricardo Amare’s concept of opening a taqueria and mezcaleria – something of a ladies’ parlour – when he ran his temporary gallery boutique in Armadale. Now as the head of Mexican luxury fashion label Pineda Covalin in Australia and founder of the Nomad Project boutique in Albert Park, Ricardo’s Senoritas dream has been fully realised in the CBD.
The small space plays on Dia de los Muertos a.k.a the Day of the Dead motifs. It’s darkly feminine, overseen by Dennis Ropar’s entrancing artworks (which it should be noted are sometimes derivative of Gayla Partridge’s photography). The style is designed to attract prominent Mexican ladies of the past and present – such as Frida Kahlo, Salma Hayek and folkloric cartoon-ish figure ‘La Catrina’ – to recline momentarily for a margarita or two. Senoritas’ colourful artisan crockery is imported from Mexico; as is head chef Hugo Reyes.
Balancing out these simultaneously fancy yet festive surroundings, the food is rather down to earth; Reyes has been inspired by provincial street food or dishes traditionally served within the home. Ricardo says the thing he misses most from his Mexican diet was “a really good taco”. Senoritas are small and soft-shelled, filled with fresh ingredients (try the pork from the Yacatan or the Harpuka fish). Like many dishes on Senoritas menu any spicy kick is to be added as desired with salsa. And the tacos are just the thing to order here (It’s not a faux pas to eat 20 of the tasty morsels in one sitting…I checked. Though your eventual bill may prove a bit too “spicy” if you try). Just a few of these paired with cocktails may be the best way to experience Senoritas.
To the cocktails; try the jalapeno margarita or a glass of Spanish-inspired but Victorian grown ‘Los Hermanos’ Txakoli wine. Or for tequila-phobics I’d seriously suggest giving it another chance with a sangrita. Strictly not a sangria, a sangrita involves a more ritualistic savouring of sips – not shots – of tequila alternately interspersed with sips of a peppery tomato concoction. Next up on my to-drink list at Senoritas? The caramel ‘cajeta’ margarita or the blood orange and chilli spiked ‘El Anticuado’.
Senoritas (and senors) can be found at 16 Meyers Place in Melbourne.