DON Birria may sound like a Mexican villain from a 1970s cartoon, but it’s actually a new taco joint in the heart of Mt Lawley.
Just around the corner from The Astor Theatre, the small eatery specialises in “birria” tacos which are stuffed with slow-cooked meat, then dipped in a stew and fried (mmm, get your cardiologist on speed dial).
Traditionally they used goat meat, but Don Birria have updated things with more mainstream fillings like beef and chicken.
Over the past three years the soul food has gone down a treat with folk at the Scarborough Sunset Markets, so the owners decided to take the next step and open an outlet on Walcott Street in July 2022.
The eatery is small and casual with a few tables inside, a pavement alfresco and some more seating under a pop-up marquee in the car park, similar to a parklet.
At the fag end of the Easter holidays, the joint was busy and there was a lively buzz as young folk and families came down for their taco fix and ordered at the counter.
The menu on the wall had a nice range of tacos – soft, keto (with melted cheese) and dorados (deep-fried corn tortillas with potato and cheese) – as well as the signature quesabirria, quesadilla and loaded fries.
Most of the dishes came with a choice of fillings including beef birria, chicken al pastor and lengua (beef tongue).
My family kicked off with some beef birria quesadilla ($16) a hearty flour tortilla stuffed with cheese, onion and coriander.
It had been grilled open and then folded in half, a bit like a spicy omelette.
Conveniently it had been scored so you could rip sections off with your hands.
It was a gooey, indulgent affair, crammed with tasty cheese and tender beef.
Rich and comforting, it was the perfect remedy for a hangover.
The signature beef quesabirrias (two for $15) had a nice crispy texture and tasted amazing when dipped in the consommé ($1) a murky, meaty affair that provided a nice antidote to the bright onion and coriander.
The beef, cheese and consommé combined in a sort of a heavenly slop and it was a rustic and slightly primal treat.
I wouldn’t eat this bad boy on a first date as your face would resemble a piñata dipped in goulash, but it was delicious.
The chicken al pastor and beef birria soft tacos (both $13 for two) didn’t hit the same heights.
I’ve had softer tacos elsewhere and they didn’t have the flavour punch of the other dishes.
I liked the chicken al pastor, which was topped with juicy pineapple, but I was expecting more depth of flavour from the beef ones.
I was actually going to order the lengua (beef tongue) taco, but they were sold out.
In general, you’re better sticking to the harder shell and fried tacos, which are designed to be dipped in the rich consommé.
I liked how the menu had the option for two or three tacos per serve, making it more kid-friendly and versatile for sharing.
Don Birria is a fun, messy, tactile affair and a welcome twist to the Mexican dining scene in Perth.
3/80 Walcott St, Mount Lawley
by STEPHEN POLLOCK