In Mexico, a Fonda is a family kitchen that opens up to the public. A place for the community to congregate and enjoy mamma's cooking direct from her kitchen, it embodies the philosophy 'My house, your house' or 'Mi Casa, Su Casa'. David Youl and Tim McDonald have taken this ethos to their restaurant, thinking of the staff as family and the customers as friends. Those authentic Mexican ingredients, essential to Mexican food and which cannot be sourced locally, especially the Doughpro tortilla press, have been imported from Northern America.
The fun starts on the outside of Fonda, with ‘Mi Casa Su Casa’ painted on the exterior corner wall and an orange Fonda postie bike out the front. Passing the outdoor seating to the inside you will find the main open kitchen area with the adjacent ‘Marini dining room’ continuing through to the cosy backyard courtyard providing for different experiences each time someone visits. There is enough room for 75 patrons to be treated by Chef Ravi Presser and Mexican cooking sensation Lupita Manzo, who have created a menu of authentic Mexican flavours using Australia’s premium fresh produce. This is not fast food, but good food served quickly.
All the produce arrives daily from the Queen Victoria Market. Corn masa tortillas for their tacos are made by Poala, a former Mexican staff member (who now runs El Cielo Tortillaria) and are delivered every day and the dough for the burrito tortillas is sourced from the Convent Bakery in Abbotsford. In addition to authentic Mexican food, Fonda serves Mexican soda, beer and tequila as well as the Mexican Aguas Frescas drinks, a traditional home made beverage designed to refresh or beat the heat of the food. Horchata is the aguas fresca of choice and is made using a family recipe of the Manzo Family containing rice, water, cinnamon, vanilla and evaporated milk.
Tim is a former lawyer, and no longer bills in six-minute increments, instead choosing for the last year to serve up delicious margaritas and work the floor delivering taco goodness along with David, a former fireman. Fonda serves only 100% Agave tequilas from Tromba Tequila, meaning the tequila is made purely from the agave plant with no added sugars. Many Australians have only experienced ‘Mixto’ tequilas, which are only 51% agave (the rest is sugar) generally consumed with lime/salt and leave you feeling worse for wear in the morning.
The type of food you can expect to eat here includes their 12′ burritos, with a seasonal kangaroo option, quinoa salads, quesadillas, including one with pickled cactus and 6′ tacos, vegetarian, goat or their infamous rockling fish taco. There is a high-voltage chilli hot sauce on the tables which is made on-premises. All the food is made fresh each day, so if you want traditional Mexican not an international forgery, then this is the Mexican restaurant is for you. Casual, fun and healthy, the proof is in the food, so make yourself at home and enjoy!