Every Tuesday I meet a friend to go out for lunch. We have some nice food, do some shopping with money we know is probably better off spent on groceries and bills, end up having some cake and talking about silly things, serious things, random things.
We recently had a craving for Mexican cuisine, did some googling and found Zambrero. To be honest, we decided to try Zambrero because it seemed inexpensive compared to the other Mexican places appearing in Perth, was not in the city (roadworks, do i need to explain further?) and was open for lunch. So we made a trip down to an outlet in Leederville, on our last Tuesday lunch routine.
We found the place with no hassle, a small, cosy store, laid out with benches and high stools, with some crates for al fresco dining. The way Zambrero works is very much free and easy food, a little bit like the cafetaria system where you make a choice off the main menu and customise it yourself with the fresh stuff.
After some deliberation, we ordered some food to share, and I have ticked our customisations accordingly off the menu you will see at Zambrero's counter. Basically, you order what you want, the staff warm up the components needed, and start piling on the fix-ins with your sauce of choice.
Our first choice was to get some tacos:
We got two hard tacos, one with lamb and one with beef. We decided to go with all the fix-ins, and chose the chilli sauce for some kick. I enjoyed this, but this was messy food. A lovely crispy taco shell full of lovely salsa, crispy vegetables and lovely marinated meat. The sauce provided a lovely kick, working well with all the drippy goodness of corn and tomatoes.
Lovely, crispy, tangy, messy goodness.
We also got a side of nachos to share, again with all the fix-ins, and some guacamole as well. To be honest, I hardly ever considered nachos a very Mexican food - i'm pretty sure they are more Tex-Mex than Mexican, even if they did originate from Mexico. Don't misunderstand though, I still love nachos, it's the kind of food that incorporates lots of lovely ingredients, on crispy corn tortillas.
I do know, from friends, that whether done right or wrong, nachos are good hangover food. (I don't drink, but I won't say no to nachos.)
As you can see, these nachos are a colourful, generous heaping of corn and tomato salsa, cheese, red onions, chilli sauce, sour cream, guacamole, and marinated beef. Every component works, and we ended up shovelling up every morsel with the chips. The chilli sauce, again, though having a pronounced spiciness is tempered by the sour cream, and the cool, chunky guacamole. (I try to not eat guacamole that is completely smooth, it is always a little suspicious to me.)
Also, it is necessary for me to point out that the meats we chose were really impressive. Especially the beef, marinated well and tender. Often I find Mexican food in Perth serves minced meat with their dishes, especially on food like nachos - which although can taste good, is not as impressive as seeing chunks and slivers of pulled meat.
We also ordered a burrito to share, and went for a vegetarian version.
I was pleasantly surprised by these burritos. They didn't have any meat in them, but it was so ridiculously flavourful, with lots of textures from smushed beans to crispy, crunchy vegetables. I especially loved the spread of mashed Pinto beans, and the rice. The wrap didn't turn out to be mushy or soggy, but we probably shouldn't have added in the Jalapenos, since we again, went with the chilli sauce for this wrap. It got spicy really quick, but we chowed on - a little spiciness, tears or runny noses would not stop us from finishing good food.
Zambrero has a lovely vibe, and while it can get busy, it's never particularly crowded in the store itself, since the rush comes from people ordering their food to go, clutching their aluminium rolls like precious, delicious bundles, probably to eat in the privacy of their office or homes. I saw students, tradies, office workers, even firemen wandering in and out during lunch. It's a casual atmosphere, self service, and fresh ingredients on straightforward food. (Also I really want to know what mixtape they play in their Leederville store, the music was great!)
I felt the prices were okay, for the quality and quantity of stuff I was getting, plus it was shared between two people who left very satisfied and full from their meal. Also, if you are uni student, you get a 10% discount! They also have a loyalty card, which they call a Burrito Bunch card, and you get a free burrito after 10 stamps.
Zambrero has three locations in Perth, so it's additionally easy to get relatively cheap, filling, and good Mexican fast-food that you won't feel guilty eating. Olè!
663 Newcastle Street
Leederville WA 6007
(08) 6161 1254
625 Beaufort Street
Mount Lawley WA 6050
(08) 6161 9436
50 Subiaco Square
Subiaco WA 6008
(08) 6161 5441