Ponsonby Central has been transformed into an exciting culinary experience, with a specialist butcher (Neat Meat), a grocer (Ceres Fresh Market), a wine merchant, cheesemonger (The Dairy), fishmonger (Jimmy the Fish), even a coffee roaster (Eightthirty Coffee Roasters). There are also 8 eateries sitting jowl to cheek on site.
Dumpling Club descended on Maldito Mendez for the final lunch for 2013. We sat outside in the little cordoned-off courtyard; it was a bit of a tight squeeze but we’re a friendly bunch.
Maldito Mendez serves up fresh Latin American food with flair, in a fun and cheerful environment. The food were full of colours, with the brightly hued peppers and tomatoes, red cabbage slaw and fresh herbs. Our very attentive waiter was incredibly patient with us; when you have a group of 11, our attention span is all over the place.
The hibiscus tea ($4.50) is tangy and refreshing. The rest of the group indulged in their very fruity sangria, which comes in white and red wine versions.
For starters, we shared some picadas (snacks) of mandioca fries with chipotle aioli ($8) and tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole ($12). The mandioca (also known as cassava) fries were starchy, with a slight resiny aftertaste. It was an interesting flavour which went well with the vinegary flavour of the creamy aioli. The tortilla chips were so fresh-tasting with the salsa and guacamole.
Grilled market fish tacos ($15) were served with spicy slaw and salsa verde. This was several of the group’s favourite dish.
I had the pork belly burrito ($18) served with pineapple salsa and green rice. The pork belly was absolutely delicious; perfectly cooked with crisp skin and the melting fat and tender meat.
The braised beef mulita ($18) is Maldito’s version of a quesadilla and comes in a buttermilk tortilla with provolone cheese. The beef is beautifully tender in a rich flavourful sauce.
The chicken taco ($15) had crispy coconut chicken strips, served with chipotle mayo and criolla (onion relish).
Maldito Mendez is a delightful eatery; great environment, tasty food and excellent service. Plus, its location within Ponsonby Central means you can do your grocery shopping after your meal. If only parking in Ponsonby wasn’t such a hassle.
Ponsonby Central, 4 Brown Street, Ponsonby, Auckland
Ph: 09-378 9107
Open 7 days, 11:30am until late
Brunch on Sat & Sun from 10am – 2pm