Bringing the Streets of Veracruz to Bondi
The last time I reviewed a Mexican joint for The Beast was way back in 2014. It was a fantastic restaurant called Mr Moustache, which unfortunately was only around for a year or so.
When I discovered that my beloved Nando’s on Hall Street had shut down and was being renovated, I prayed for something new and exciting. Someone must have been listening on that fateful day because Fonda was born and my prayers were answered.
Fonda, which in Mexico means ‘a home that has been opened to the local community as a restaurant’ (rather than a homage to an American fitness guru), was established in Victoria in 2011, where there are currently seven outlets. It was started by two mates who had envisioned a venue serving high quality Mexican street food – affordable, tasty and fresh.
It’s hard to miss Fonda’s sky-blue façade with big, black letters spelling out Jane’s surname as you cruise down Hall Street, as we happened to be on this particular Wednesday evening.
Pumping music emanated from within as throngs of hungry punters lined the footpath waiting for a table. Luckily for our group of four, Dan the manager was kind enough to seat us in poll possie on the streetfront, avoiding the usual one-hour wait time after 6pm.
Our drinks were served by Lauren, a lovely lady from Seattle, who brought us a couple of classic margaritas, a Stone & Wood Pacific Ale fresh off the tap, and a watermelon and strawberry aqua fresca, which is a non-alcoholic chilled beverage that the street vendors serve south of the border.
Our feasting began with four servings of chargrilled corn with chipotle aioli, queso and lime; two crispy brussels tacos with fresh shaved brussels sprouts, pickled carrot and onion, caramelized onion and chipotle aioli; two market fresh rock ling tacos with guacamole, pickled carrot and onion, cabbage, chipotle aioli and lime; and a Hiramasa kingfish ceviche tostada tossed with shaved cabbage, avocado, coriander, chili, fried shallots and toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds).
I wouldn’t usually get excited about brussels sprouts, but when Fonda puts them in a taco, it works! The corn cobs, dressed with a light cheese and aioli, got us salivating from the very first bite.
For mains, we selected the pineapple-glazed pork belly taco sharing board with pineapple salsa, chili-lime cabbage salad, guacamole, pickled carrot and onion, chipotle aioli, Fonda salsa, coriander and fresh lime, and the pasilla chicken quesadilla with rocket, pico de gallo, lime and jalapeño-basil aioli. Both dishes were awesome; spicy, tender and exploding with flavour.
For dessert, we decided on the buñuelos; a plate of crispy flour tortilla pastries dusted in cinnamon sugar and served with dulce de leche and Fonda’s house-made Mexican vanilla bean ice cream. These things are next level.
To keep this wonderful summer night alive just a tad longer, we squeezed in one last round of drinks; an espresso martini and Kahlua on the rocks to line our happy bellies.
Fonda is smoking hot right now and it’s not hard to see why. They’ve nailed the location, the joint looks awesome inside and out, the food is delicious, the atmosphere is epic and the prices are pretty reasonable for such high quality ingredients. These blokes will have seven outlets across Sydney before long and they’ll all be pumping, and you can say you went to the first one!
85 Hall Street, Bondi Beach
Phone 8583 6767
Open Mon-Tue: 5pm-late; Wed-Sun: 12pm-late
Prices Individual items up to $20; share boards $49
Cards Accepted Yes