Melbourne Central’s CDMX only opened last September, but the venue quickly gained a reputation as one of Melbourne’s best Mexican spots.
The taqueria’s rapid rise can, in part, be traced back to the popularity of birria – a Mexican stew that originated in Jalisco, but varies regionally. It’s usually made with chilli peppers, warm spices and slow-cooked goat, sheep or beef. While Birria has been around for centuries, it took off on Tiktok and Instagram in 2020, and publications including Broadsheet, the New York Times and Eater all took a deep dive.
CDMX is known for its birria taco – a grilled corn tortilla filled with birria-braised beef brisket, salsa, coriander, onion and melted cheese, and served with a birria consommé. (The long, gooey cheese pull when you bite in has also lured fans).
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But it would be reductive to credit CDMX’s success to an internet craze. The taqueria, which gets its name from a common abbreviation for Mexico City (or Ciudad de México in Spanish), is run by Beatrice Nacor and Daniel Pineda, the same husband-and-wife duo behind Mexican diner Superchido in Seddon.
The pair opened the new Brunswick East location in mid-July. Here, the team encourages diners to look beyond the cheese pull. “It’s such a great menu item,” Nacor says of the birria taco, “but we’re hoping that we can highlight some of the other tacos a little bit more.”
That means items like al pastor, a quintessential Mexico City taco made with marinated, spit-roasted pork. Or the campechano, a taco that combines slow-cooked beef and house-made pork sausage. Or the papa tacos: crisp potato served on a corn tortilla and topped with cheese, salsa and chipotle mayo.
Rotating taco specials also include lengua (braised ox tongue) and suadero, a fatty cut of grilled confit beef belly.
“You can find almost every taco in Mexico City,” says Pineda. “[It] is sort of the melting pot of a lot of the other regions.”
While tacos are the focus here, there are also antojitos, or “little snacks”, like elote (chargrilled corn slathered in chipotle mayo, spices and Mexican anejo cheese) and snapper ceviche tostadas.
The 65-seat eatery takes cues from shop’s original location – and its namesake city – with white tiled walls – “very typical in Mexican markets and old-school taquerias”, says Pineda – mixed with the brand’s signature cobalt blue, which appears on painted brick walls and in blue neon signage.
There’s also a sizeable bar that allows Pineda and Nacor to show off their tequila and mezcal knowledge and offer diners a place to linger – something they noticed their CBD clientele were craving.
Some of the spirits – served by the shot for up to $30 – have been aged for several years, and are designed to be sipped and savoured. Palomas, Margaritas and several Mexican beers, including Tecate and Sol, are also on offer, as well as non-alcoholic Mexican soft drink Jarritos and house-made vegan horchata.
CDMX Brunswick East
315 Lygon St, Brunswick East
0466 926 773
Tues to Thurs 5pm–10pm
Wed to Sat 5pm–late