We challenge anyone to peruse a Mole (Mo-Lay) menu without sniggering. Ah, Acland St Cantina you’re too cool to laugh at yourself, but it’s okay because the Mole tastes damn good. Don’t go to Green Pork Mole until you’ve tried Red – tender Tallarook goat in a heavy mystery sauce with more than thirty magic ingredients ($28).
St Kilda’s newest Mexican eatery plays its cards close to its chest. We call midweek to make a booking. “There’s no tables for 7pm but we can squeeze you in at 6pm.” Boo. “ Oh, there’s always a raised table at 7pm.” Well why didn’t you say so?
Bar stools, high chairs, low chairs, booths, couches and cosy nooks – there’s seats hidden all over the place, you’ve just got to find them.
Bunkered down in the basement of refurbed Prince of Wales Hotel, the dining room is dark and moody. A Frida Khalo-esque skull looms on the back wall and jar lights dangle from the ceiling.
The menu runs cross country through Mexico – heavy bohemia braised lamb empanadas in more mole (black fig) ($14 for two), zesty pineapple and spit roasted pork tacos ($14 for two), build-your-own carne asada skirt steak tortillas ($29) and BBQ chilli chicken ($25). Dishes come as they’re cooked so start with a zingy chilli and chia-infused guacamole ($9) before ordering.
Add as much heat as you can handle with sauces and condiments served on the side. Thirst quenching jugs of lime margaritas are a go but if you’re after something different, we hear Jennifer Hawkins is a fan of the mango twist.
Acland St Cantina
2 Acland St, St Kilda, Melbourne
T: (03) 9536 1175
Mon to Sun 7am to 3am