Touchè Hombre

Posted on November 24, 2012

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Sometimes I’m happy to be proven wrong. The following story will highlight one of those times. I had originally dismissed Touchè Hombre (corner Lonsdale Street and Tattersalls Lane, Melbourne VIC) as some bar that’s popped up to capitalise on the currently trending Mexican food scene in Melbourne. I didn’t think much of it. Sure it always appeared happenin’ and full of happy drinkers even on mundane week nights, but just because it’s full doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s good – right? Wrong (well this time anyway). Touchè Hombre aren’t jumping on the Mexican food bandwagon just for the sake of it, they’ve actually got some value add and I’m so pleased my friend convinced me into giving them a chance. Apologies for the sub standard photos in this post, this meal was an impromptu one and I didn’t have my camera with me. Phone cameras will never cut the mustard in my books.

As mentioned, this place was pumping, on a Tuesday night! It was past 8pm when my companion and I sat perched on the bar, drinking in the scene around us. Touchè Hombre is decked out pretty much like the way how I’d imagine a bar in Mexico to be. Noting of course that my only ‘experience’ of Mexico and Mexican bars thus far in life is from how it’s portrayed on American TV shows and movies; that is being dark and chaotic. So in conforming to this image in my head, Touchè Hombre hosts neon lit signs, industrial style light bulbs, graffitied walls, a big shelf full of different tequilas, old school enameled tin mugs, ’80s arcade machines and loud music coming out from the DJ’s station. Perhaps not really an ideal venue for first dates, but for a causal dinner with friends, the decor of this dining hall alone will give you a number of talking points.

It felt a little wrong not having a drink in my hand when seated at the bar, so I went for the very sensible and sobering choice of pomegranate and Tahitian lime snow cone ($6.50). Staying true to their Mexican theme, for an extra charge, you can even add a shot of tequila in it. Not too sweet and with a little zing, this was a pleasant drink to be sipping on the warm night.

For food, we ordered from the botanas (snacks), tostaditos and plato de compartir (dishes to share) sections of the menu in an attempt to sample the widest variety possible in one sitting. The fatty lamb ribs ($11) came up first and it was delicious. The thing that immediately entices your senses is the amazing aroma from the spices used, it really primes you to taste all the sweet and mildly spiced flavours. The meat is juicy and tender and the tang of lemon gives a little lightness to balance the dish. A definite bar snack winner!

The crab tostaditos ($14) came in a serving of 4 and was a good combination of flavours in just one mouthful. Light, refreshing with a little hint of chilli. Another good little starter.

For something more substantial, we went for the pato a pato (twice cooked duck $27). It was generous serving, coming with 2 duck marylands, 6 tortillas, guacamole, cabbage and pink grapefruit salad and cheese. The novelty was in creating your own tacos and being able to customise the ratio of fillings. The duck was very nicely cooked and the meat flaked off the bone without much effort, it was well paired with the accompanying salad and velvety smooth guacamole. Very tasty and very filling.

So far, 3 dishes sampled from 3 different parts of their menu and all 3 were as different and as tasty as each other. I’ve noticed that Touchè Hombre has attracted some mixed reviews online, there are mentions of hits and misses on their menu. Fortunately for us, we seemed to have ordered very well and both my dining partner and I thoroughly enjoyed the food and wouldn’t hesitate in recommending this venue to others. Even if you’re still a little skeptical, at the very least, go in for a drink at the bar and order those lamb ribs. You will not regret it!

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