Welcome to Melbourne's first and only taqueria, bakery and coffee shop hybrid. Bread and tacos. Why not?

When the previous tenants of this St George's Road premises left a fully functioning bakery out the back, the El Chino team stuck some bun-rollers into one kitchen and Mexican chef Alfonso ‘Fonz’ Foncerrada (Cafe Rosamond, Seven Seeds) in the other to do Mexican brunch.

In the white tiled dining room there’s a bit of hard rubbish up-cycling going on and plenty of pastel mint paintwork. Nanna-style cream buns and rock cakes studded with sultanas fill a glass cabinet next to freshly baked loaves on the counter. Small tables with knobbly legs and marble finishes are cute as a button, but do expect some knee bumping with the clientele of pre/post Piedimonte’s shoppers, burdened with bags and prams. A courtyard area (still under construction) promises seating for 30 more peeps.

Eats wise, go for a breakfast plate of huevos divorciados (translation, divorced eggs). You get a pair of sunny yolked fried eggs, salsa roja (red), herby salsa verde (green) and refried beans soaking into warmed tortillas that will only set you back a tenner. Add guacamole or chorizo to anything for $4. Tacos hover at the $6 mark. There’s the Caribbean influenced cochinita pibil (a warm corn tortilla filled with citrus-y slow cooked pork stained yellow with annatto – the poor man's saffron – and topped with refreshing slices of pink pickled onion), or a fall-apart pulled barbecue beef taco doused in tangy tomatillo salsa.

El Chino! is currently unlicensed, so you'll have to forgo your breakfast booze and settle for a well made coffee. Single origin beans from Guatamala are the focus here or go for a grapefruit Jarritos soda – pride of Mexico.

Other than a few small issues with service (swinging from friendly and helpful to less than enthusiastic) this slightly unusual combination of homestyle Mexican meals, baguettes and lattes is working for us.

Who won the Melbourne food awards?

First published on . Updated on .

El Chino! Taqueria y Panaderia details

Address
214 St Georges Rd, Fitzroy North 3068

Telephone 03 9078 7974

El Chino! Taqueria y Panaderia map

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