Great Gonzo

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Mr Gonzo, 28 Melrose Street, North Melbourne. Phone: 0449 536 317

Flat bread, made from corn and originating from the Americas, various parts?

We’ve enjoyed heaps.

But nothing quite as fine as the arepas at Mr Gonzo.

The thick arepas are toasted is such a way as to be both crunchy and chewy; simply marvellous.

They’re formed into something that resembles a pita pocket.

Father and son both choose the beef brisket filling.

It is fabulous, shredded and very, very tasty and easy to eat.

The meat is abetted by some avocado and a “traditional Colombia sauce”. The latter no doubt contributes to the overall effect, but imbues no specific flavour to proceedings.

Whatever the yumminess, the admission fee of $17 seems a bit steep, eh?

Not a bit of it!

The above photo lies.

These are a deluxe lunch, much more fulsome than they look and worth every penny.

(Plain beef, no avocado, costs $14.)

Our mid-week arepa lunch was preceded by quite a different visit – on a busy Fathers’ Day.

We roam elsewhere on the menu (see below) to good ends; if our selections don’t quite have the same sensational zing as the arepas, the combined effect is more than enough to ensure we will become regulars at this cosy eatery.

Bennie loves is “tamal” ($16).

Round and tubby, it rather resembles a lamprey.

Encased in the banana leaves are rice, pork, chicken, egg, carrot and green beans.

A hearty thumbs up for this!

My combination patacone ($22) has the same beef as the arepas, equally fine chicken, potato sticks, mayo, avocado and, yep, tomato sauce.

It’s all very nice – sort of like a South American nachos.

The array of toppings is sullied, just a little bit, by the plantain base being really tough and hard to cut.

Our Fathers’ Day treat started with two chicken empanadas.

Oh boy – like the arepas, these two soar to the very top of our collective empanada reckoning.

The very corny casings are superbly deep-fried and the innards are impeccably flavoursome.

They may seem a little pricey at $4.50 each; the three-parcel combo for $12 seems like the go.

Well done, Bennie my son, for finding this tucked-away gem on a lunchtime foray from your nearby workplace, introducing us in the process to a lovely corner of North Melbourne we’ve never previously explored.

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