Bay City Burrito
4-7 Shakespeare Grove
St Kilda, VIC 3182
03 9534 1582
Disclosure: I dined here as a guest of Bay City Burrito
Sofia of Poppet’s Window & Word Salad sent a friendly invite to dinner and drinks at a SF-Mex mission-style burrito place in St Kilda. It came just when I decided I’d like to discover tacos and burritos more… good timing!
Only Bytegirl was free that Wednesday night to accompany me, and that turned out quite fortuitous… on the way to dinner, I learnt that she has lived in San Francisco, that she has been to its Mission District and is pretty familiar with its burritos!
Nothing like a good friend to walk you through the flavours and tell you what’s what. In fact, I was quite tempted to title this post “The Tortilla Tutorial”. It also ties in perfectly with this new joint, which plans to represent the rich burrito culture from San Francisco’s Mission District.
The eatery gives off a modern-industrial vibe, with naked piping in the ceiling, tall chairs and smart wood fittings. And I won’t even fault you for thinking that it’s a snazzy fast food franchise (which it isn’t). It’s probably part of the owner’s grand plan and concept… to catch the casual beach crowd.
We started off with nachos and drinks whilst waiting for the rest of our group to turn up. I had a spicy magarita w jalapeño peppers ringed w chilli salt, it packed quite a fiery punch. Sofia then introduced us to the owner, Gary (and his wife), who told us more about the restaurant.
Lesson 1: how to unravel the foil from around the burrito…
First thing I learnt was how the burrito is purely an American invention… almost like a beefed up ‘taco on steroids’. Meaning you can’t find burritos in Mexico (hence why they don’t exist on La Tortilleria’s menu). Burrito appreciation is like a cult to the Americans (the same way Melbournians love their coffee). Gary smiled as he described the way Americans would call how snugly the foil is wrapped around the burrito as its ‘structural integrity’. =.=”
BAY CITY SPECIAL – Carnitas pork with cheese, black beans, Spanish rice & mild salsa 14.50
SURF & TURF – Steak & prawns sautéed in salsa, onions & garlic with Spanish rice, black beans & lime sour cream 15.20
Sofia then ordered for us a smorgasbord of burritos to sample, kindly divided into halves for sharing. The two above were Bytegirl’s and my favourites. She liked the surf & turf while I really dug into the carnitas pork. We tried to share these halves by removing the foil and cutting them further, only to learn that removing all of the foil made the burrito fall apart. So yes… ‘structural integrity’ IS of import!
BAJA – Prawns sautéed in salsa, onions & garlic with Spanish rice, black beans & lime sour cream 15.20
LA FAJITA – Grilled chicken sautéed with capsicum & onions, melted cheese, Spanish rice, mild salsa & lime sour cream 14.50
Midway through our meal, Bytegirl made an observation that I totally agreed with. To her, it’s the black beans that makes a burrito a burrito. And they make excellent black beans here (using pressure cookers). When I greedily munched on the (more Tex-Mex style) La Fajita, it did not taste quite as wonderful because of the lack of black beans.
SEARED PRAWN SALAD – Cos lettuce, red cabbage, carrots, pineapple salsa, cilantro, green onions drizzled with Asian dressing & dry aged cheese 15.80
SOMA QUESADILLA – Flour or corn tortillas grilled crispy with melted low fat cheese, side of salsa, fresh guacamole & sour cream 8.50
Here were some of the other side dishes that we had along with the burritos… a prawn salad, crisp serves of quesadillas…
FISH TACO – Grilled strips of seasoned fish, fresh cabbage slaw, chipotle dressing & pineapple salsa in grilled corn tortillas (1 for 7.50, 2 for 14.90)
STREET TACO – Lean steak, chopped onion, cilantro, red chilli salsa & melted cheese in grilled corn tortillas (1 for 5.50, 2 for 10.90)
STREET TACO – Grilled chicken, chopped onion, cilantro, red chilli salsa & melted cheese in grilled corn tortillas (1 for 5.50, 2 for 10.90)
… and of course tacos! We liked the steak taco the most, and I really enjoyed the fragrant grilled corn tortillas (I’ve stopped calling them ‘taco skins’ ever since a friend teased me about it). But personally, I’d stick to the delicious burritos when dining here.
Another pleasant invite meal. I’d like to thank Gary for having us, and Sofia for organising this little tasting event. Dining here has increased my interest in eating Mexican fare (and its American derivatives). In fact, Bytegirl took me to La Tortilleria a few days later to further my ‘education’. Read here for that (Tortilla Tutorial, part 2) post!
NB: You may want to hear Bytegirl’s verdict… On our way home, she told me that BCB’s burritos were pretty good, but they did not taste exactly like the burritos served in the Mission District’s hole-in-the-wall taquerias. However, they remind her of a white man’s (more modernised) take on a burrito’s flavour profile, which ties in perfectly with Gary’s San Franciscan upbringing. On this front, I think this would suit Melbourne’s local palate (and my own tastebuds) very well.