82 Charles St Seddon, VIC 3011
|Opening hours||Tue-Fri 5pm-9pm; Sat-Sunday noon-3.30pm, 5pm-11pm|
|Features||Accepts bookings, Licensed, Bar, Outdoor seating|
|Prices||Moderate (mains $20-$40)|
|Payments||eftpos, Visa, Mastercard|
|Phone||0403 135 090|
People are always telling great home cooks they should open a restaurant. Usually, they're wrong. But in Daniel Pineda's case, the cheer squad got it right. Food has always been his obsession. As a high school kid, instead of skateboarding or gaming, he'd hang with his friends to cook meals together. While at uni, Pineda always set money and time aside to make feasts for family and friends. And when he was working as a solutions engineer designing the NBN, he confesses to browsing recipes at his desk.
Pineda's heritage is Filipino but that wasn't the cuisine that reeled him in. Mexican food became an abiding passion: he collected 100 recipe books, many in Spanish. He sourced key Mexican ingredients, tested recipes, tried them out on pals, and even did some catering. A year ago he took a huge leap, ditching engineering to open Superchido with sister Sarah and wife Beatrice.
The 66-seat Seddon restaurant is cool and vibing, wending from streetside shopfront to a smaller room by an open kitchen and a sheltered yard. It's colourful and upbeat: think neon, murals and the odd cactus. Mexican chef Francisco Ramirez is part of a multicultural kitchen team striving to turn out authentic Mexican food: they do a great job.
A hearty beef broth (birria) with exquisite spicy depth is served with braised beef-and-cheese tacos that have been griddled to a crisp. It's a perfectly messy dip, bite and drool situation.
Guacamole is made here with a mortar and pestle: it's a chunky, folded concoction of onion, chilli and avocado scattered with pistachio and pepitas, just the right texture for scooping with corn totopos.
Aguachile verde is made with raw scallops, tossed in "chilli water" and dressed with red onion and cucumber. The combination of sweet, soft, crunchy and frisky is beguiling.
You can taste the love in the five different house salsas, based on charred garlic, chilli and herbs, and in the cocktails: the chamoyada margarita is sauced up with tangy, salty housemade tamarind paste.
Less-travelled dishes are a passion of Pineda's: encacahuatado is as fun to eat as it is to say. The traditional recipe sees chicken smothered in spiced peanut sauce. Superchido also does a vegan version with roasted vegetables.
Chocoflan – known as "impossible cake" – is a two-layer dessert. It goes into the oven with chocolate sponge on the bottom and custard on top but they change positions (impossibly) during the alchemy of the bake. The cake is inverted to serve and drizzled with cajeta, a milk caramel. It's sturdy and sweet with winning caramel cut-through.
Superchido necessarily lacks the fresh herbs, seasonal subtleties and nuance you'd find in Mexico, but the food is tasty, honest, heartfelt and absolutely enjoyable. Daniel Pineda is planning to travel to Mexico for the first time later this year: it will be exciting to see how in situ feasting impacts Superchido.
Meantime, this is a delightful place for eating and hanging and a happy, respectful melding of intention and execution.