Prawn Tacos Make Ideal Addition To On-Trend Mexican Menu
A RECENT ADDITION which showcases the popularity of seafood on the Mexican menu is the prawn taco. “Previously we offered a choice of shredded beef, grilled chicken, panfried veggies, pan tossed chorizo, chilli corn carne and pulled pork,” Parveen tells us, “and we realised that we were missing a seafood option.” When Parveen’s supplier provided him with some of I&J’s Double Crunch Prawns, he realised that they were the ideal ingredient to create a prawn taco.
“They have a really good flavour, they’re a good match to the style of food we offer, and they present really well,” Parveen enthuses. “And of course they come pre-battered and ready to fry and serve. Both the prawns themselves and the batter is high quality and imparts a great flavour that complements the other ingredients.”
The prawns are served in a taco with black beans, cheese, pico de gallo, sour cream, salsa and chipotle aioli, which is a popular entrée dish. Hecho en Mexico also features them in its Fisherman’s Basket main dish alongside beer battered barramundi, calamari rings and chips, garnished with colourful green papaya and carrot slaw and garlic jalapeno aioli. Again, the focus is on the appearance as much as it is the flavour – and on choosing ingredients which deliver on both fronts, providing consistency of presentation as well as terrific taste.
With its colourful mural walls, funky decor and cheery staff, Hecho en Mexico offers a vibrant, youthful atmosphere, friendly service and quality Mexican food that's not overpriced.
Since opening its initial restaurant in Melbourne's inner-city suburb of Fitzroy in 2013, Hecho en Mexico has expanded to encompass a further three outlets, all of which are located on prominent Melbourne dining strips - Chapel Street in South Yarra, in Main Street Brighton, and on Anderson St Yarraville.
The business is the brainchild of Parveen Bajar and his business partner, who own three of the restaurants, with the Yarraville site the first in a planned series of franchised outlets. At time of writing, they are working on their franchise concept and looking for potential sites for further restaurants.
"It's casual dining, hip and funky, targeting the local market, which tends to be young singles and families in their 30s to 40s," Parveen says. They serve all the classic Mexican dishes, from nachos and stuffed jalapenos to tacos, taquitos, enchiladas, burritos and quesadillas along with some more exotic creations such as chimichanga - a deep fried burrito with yellow rice, pico de gallo sauce and sour cream garnished with queso fresco, salsa and chipotle aioli. An impressive spanish paella is also on the menu, as is a selection of burgers – a nod to their widespread popularity on menus targeting the inner-city crowd.
As per the restaurant's colourful decor, the emphasis is on attractive, stylish presentation and flavoursome food. "Mexican food is associated with good times and a party vibe, and we wanted to capitalise on that," explains Parveen. "It's very much on trend and it connects with a lot of people."
In keeping with that theme, there’s an extensive drinks list including five varieties of sangria, exotic spirits like dark Mexican rum and the world’s only honey tequila, and a comprehensive selection of cocktails.
While encouraging of large parties, the layout of most of the restaurants limits the amount of dedicated function space available – except for the Brighton store, where al fresco dining spaces can be closed off to host events.
In their efforts to build a consistent brand, the Hecho en Mexico team has installed similar décor schemes and menus throughout its four stores – though of course they’re always keen to try new dishes and products.