Hotel Jesus, Collingwood
You could say I’d be a little bit cross if I didn’t check out the latest new addition to my barrio: Hotel Jesus, brought to you by the people who own Mamasita, one of my top selections. Some work needs to be done making the service less awkward and the menu more understandable, but I enjoyed the quality of the fare here and would be keen to return. Prices are on the steep end, as you need a fair few things to finish an appetite.
The fit out at Hotel Jesus is high energy and high cost (that’s where your pesos go), with a remarkable renovation that makes it really achieve the cheap, retro tacqueria look they were going for, which I guess is a good thing. Takeaway (or ‘tacoway’ as they have branded it) isn’t available yet but it was easy to nab a table now that the crowds have died down since opening. Unless you know your Mexican and neologisms, the menu is ridiculously under-narrated with all my picks being relative stab in the darks, starting with the chicken tostada ($6.50) with martajada and espelette.
Autocorrect tells me I’m not the only person who doesn’t know what those items are. And Google tells me one is salsa and the other one is a type of pepper. The toastada was very good indeed and benefits from not having that greasy taste, apparently Hotel Jesus is the only place around that doesn’t deep fry them and that feels like the case. Chicken was cooked to order fresh from the grill and flavourful with great char and the mix was punchy in the right places. Still a tad messy to eat.
Thing number two was a quesadilla, which oddly is referred to a ‘foldie’, Al Pastor ($8) containing pork, pineapple and cheese. The fruit was a fun addition to bring out the sweetness of the pork, and melted cheese is always a winner. I wasn’t sure what the dippy sauce was other than zesty and I finished it off okay. By the way, being seated at the bar was entertaining to watch the smooth service of the kitchen and they seemed a bit more attentive than the wait staff even, had to plead for some water and dishes to run seemed to have a bit more cool down time than ideal.
My final dish was a dessert and the lady recommended bunuelos and ice-cream ($8) rather strongly that made think something was up with the corn flan option. This is another new item to my eating diary being described simply and frustratingly as “pastry, cinnamon, ice-cream”. It was a bit weird, it wasn’t quite a fritter or a donut, ended up like fried crust with ice-cream. Not that that’s a bad thing, perhaps not something to write home about (oh whoops). Hotel Jesus has a cranking menu with a lot of options so plenty more excuses to return and help them recoup some of those fit-out costs.