This review follows two separate visits to La Cholita about a month apart. Both visits were similarly good and so we've combined them into the one write up. Our two visits included Mr Blue, Madam Rabbit and Ms Foodie. A relaxed Mexican adventure (kind of like the Goonies, I guess, but with more siestas?) ensued.
- Corn Chips and Guacamole - These corn chips aren't actually corn but 'crispy flour tortillas', but in my mind guacamole always comes with corn chips and so that's what I've called them. Anyways, they are delicious. Much, much nicer than corn chips. Definitely a must order for any visit.
- Fish Tacos - I've tried each of the fish tacos (the baja fish, the crumbed prawn and the scallop) and although the scallop taco is probably a little overpriced at $10 (in terms of the enjoyment I took from it, I'm sure the ingredients did cost a little more) these are also strongly recommended. I loved them.
- Vegetarian Tacos - Madam Rabbit was quite pleased with the vegetarian taco options as well, and wanted to note she was quite complementary of Mexican food as a vegetarian cuisine generally.
- Quesadillas - We went with the Four Cheeses Quesadillas (another vego option) and found them to be very satisfying and surprisingly filling. They're at risk of being perhaps a little bland, but as a shared plate option they're great.
- Corn - Declious corn on the cob, served with a creamy sauce and some spices - provided one of your party is willing to slice off kernels, saving you from having to try to delicately eat them off the cob, this dish becomes another great side.
- Torte - Unfortunately the torte was a bit boring and none of us remembered it afterwards. Skip it and save the calories.
- Chimmechanga - The Chimmechanga is effectively icecream and chocolate sauce burrito. It's quite nice, and we were pleasantly surprised to watch the icecream and sauce ooze out after slicing it open. I think though it perhaps needs another element - perhaps something biscuitey - to take it to the next level. Similar to how Ben and Jerrys have seemingly turned ice-cream tubs on their head by concentrating on adding more non-icecream elements, I think this dish could go to another level if there was perhaps a little less melted ice-cream and chocolate sauce and something a bit more solid on the plate (i.e. other than the batter) to focus on.
- Generally - As a general comment on the food, I would note that most of the options seem to fall short of being a main dish in their own right. The tacos are two or three bites, the quesadillas probably want to be shared to avoid being bland, even the corn, while lovely, is still just corn. I was surprised I think to go in and be presented with tapas style dishes (albeit large tapas) and no real 'main' options. It's not a bug deal - in fact I think La Cholita do it better than most - but you need to be ready for it.
- Sangria - Sangria good. Always go with the Sangria. It good.
- Cocktail of the Week - We tried the cocktail of the week on our first visit and it was ok. We didn't bother on our second visit.
- Beers - They serve a selection of Mexican beers. They taste a lot like non-Mexican beers, but more Mexican.
The service at La Cholita could be a bit better, but I wouldn't say it's bad. Both nights we visited on school nights because we had heard it gets crazy crazy busy on weekends. It wasn't half-full when we were there and so we couldn't understand why it was so hard to get a waiters attention for drinks / orders / the bill etc.
That being said, when we could get their attention they were very friendly and effective - so it could have been much much worse.
Also, I should note that above the front door is a sign saying 'Please wait here to be seated'. I think most people would interpret that sign to suggest you wait outside the front door, and I bet that makes sense when the place inside is packed. Except, the sign is still up when it's not packed. I don't want to admit how long we all milled around outside the front door on our first visit, waiting to be seated in any one of the many many empty tables inside. A good example of the sometimes poor service, as they just kind of left us there looking weird and being publicly shamed by the cars driving by.
A nice place inside, with plenty of room. The booths along the front window are very pleasant and there were a few people sitting, drinking and eating at the bar. Cool artworks. Comfortable seat. Some fun clear perspex (?) flooring lets you see down into the cellar below.
A nice feel inside but I would like to see them go even further with more artwork, more fun perspex, more points of interest to note.
We enjoyed both our visits to La Cholita, and think it's well worth your time and money. The concern I have though is with someone wanting to visit on the weekends as I've heard it gets bedlam busy and if our service was almost poor on a quiet night I can't imagine what it's like on a busy night. The food though is very satisfying, the prices reasonable (by Perth standards) and the feel inside is relaxed, casual and pleasant.
Our advice would be to visit on a school night and to ease in for a somewhat relaxed session (i.e. don't be in a hurry) and hopefully you will enjoy it like we did.
7.5 Ben and Jerrys Chimmechangas (patent pending) out of 10