22 Feb Queen of the South, Prahran
Prahran’s new opening, Queen of the South, is headed up by chef Malcolm Williams (Senoritas, Rice Paper Scissors, Touché Hombre). The spacious restaurant and bar delves deeper into Mexican than just tacos and burritos.
Order some small bites before the share plates, and you’ll find a few interesting things. Instead of corn-on-the-cob, there’s the easier to eat Vasito de Elotes, a street corn kernel cup with chipotle mayo and melting queso fresco. Oceano Trucha is ocean trout cured in Tromba Blanco and ancho for 24 hours. The fresh, thinly sliced fish is teamed with corn puree, avocado crema and soused fennel.
There’s always a time for firsts, and today it’s cactus tostada. Here, the cactus is cooked until soft, and has a soft and smooth texture somewhere between cooked chillis and capsicum. It has a very slightly bitter flavour that’s paired with peanut de arbol salsa, vegan queso and pequin chilli.
The Chuleta de Cordero is one of the highlights. The charred and juicy lamb cutlets are coated in a pasilla glaze, the flavoursome meat matched with a sweet corn, spring onion and radish salsa. Eat these daintily with cutlery, or pick it up with your hands to make the most of its deliciousness.
The larger share plates are also tasty. Pollo Pibil is an Achiote marinated chicken with pineapple lime salsa and micro slaw. The skin has plenty of flavour from the marinade, and the chicken is cooked nicely. Cordero Barbacoa, slow-braised and pulled lamb shoulder, comes with separate bowls of cucumber pomegranate salad and salsa macha, a thick dried chilli condiment. Both the chicken and lamb come with warm and supple tortillas to create a DIY taco if you’d like something to hold all the flavours together.
Desserts all have suggested tequila pairings, though the Guayaba Y Durazno actually has some in it. The peaches are poached in Tromba blanco and vanilla, and topped with a delicious hazelnut and pepita crumble. A refreshing guava sorbet lightens things up. The Pina Y Clavo De Olor upside down pineapple pudding comes with pineapple sorbet, ruby grapefruit curd and clove meringues. For those who like chocolate in their desserts, Espuma De Luna is a layered dessert of smooth and airy Mexican Mole mousse with pistachio praline and Pedro Ximenez cream.
If you venture south of the Yarra to Queen of the South, you’ll find Williams’ fusion cuisine is certainly something different from your typical Mex fast food.
Disclaimer: I was invited to Queen of the South as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own, and are based on my experience at the time
Queen of the South
201-209 High St
Prahran, VIC, 3181
(03) 9005 2308