Seriously Cheap and Tasty Mexican @ Casa Mexicana – El Compa, Northbridge, W.A.

On the Tuesday night a few weeks ago, B and I had an excellent dinner at the new(ish) Mexican restaurant in Northbridge called Casa Mexicana – El Compa, which opened earlier in July and is run by two real-life Mexican “chicos”.

When we arrived, the restaurant was quiet and we were able to sit down wherever we pleased. We were then provided with little ramekins of salsa verde and salsa borracha as soon as we sat down, which were to accompany our food and to add a little extra spice if we required. We noticed on the menu that it said that all of their food is prepared mild, which is good if you like your Mexican food without too much heat!

Before we looked at the food menu, we were both keen to look at the drink list as we were craving a glass of wine. Unfortunately, El Compa doesn’t serve wine, however it has an excellent range of tequilas (ranging from $8 – $38), cocktails (including pina coladas and margaritas), Mexican beers (including Coronas, Tecate, Pacifico, XX ambar, Sol caguama), spirits and Jarritos (Mexican softdrinks in a variety of different falvours such as mango, grapefruit, pineapple and mandarin). B and I ordered two glasses of the Red Sangria (vodka, red wine and fruit juices) ($8) to start with and assessed our food options for the evening.

The food menu is split into four sections; botana (snacks), quesadillas, tacos and postre (dessert). We ordered two of the botana’s to start with – Guacamole with totopos ($8) and Tortitas Ahogadas, Guadalajara, Jalisco: Carnitas stuffed roll drowned in chile (mild or hot).

The Guacamole with Totopos arrived first, with the guacamole being a standout for both B and I, with the fresh lime adding a lot of flavour to the avocado. The totopos (triangular fried tortillas) were super crunchy and lightly salted. An excellent starter that caused B and I discuss our love of avocados for a good five minutes!

The Tortitas Ahogadas (which is a typical dish of the Mexican state of Jalisco, in particular the city of Guadalajara) is a Carnitas stuffed roll drowned in a chilli-based tomato sauce. The roasted pork (which is the ‘carnitas’) is placed in the little baguette-style rolls (called ‘bolillo’) and are then submerged in a sauce made of dried chilli peppers called ‘chile de árbol’. When we ordered, we were asked if we would like the dish mild or hot. Both B and I enjoy spicy food, so we decided to try the hot version. The dish was unlike anything I’ve tried before and it was beautiful. The pork was very tender, the sauce was thick and wasn’t overly spicy, the exterior of the bread was thick and crunchy (even though it was ‘submerged’ in the sauce). A huge recommendation to try it if you venture to El Compa!

B and I decided to share two tacos next – the Alambre, Distrito Federal taco (grilled beef, green capsicum, onion and cheese) ($7) and Hot Chorizo taco (Fresh onion, coriander and lime) ($7). Both the tacos had excellent flavours and were made with fresh ingredients.

By this stage in the night, B and I were quite content and didn’t necessarily need more food, however, I couldn’t leave without trying a quesadilla, as they were my staple in Mexico. B was kind enough to allow me to choose which quesadilla to try out of the four options: chorizo, chicken, rajas or nopales. I chose the nopales (cactus pads) filling and we both really enjoyed it.

Over the night the service was really friendly and efficient. Our waitress gave us excellent dish recommendations (including the Nopales Quesadillas and the Tortitas Ahogadas), which was a lovely aspect of our dining experience. We were both shocked that at the end of our night the bill was only $62. For a meal that was both exciting and tasty, it was such a shock to have to spend so little.

Both B and I highly recommend a visit to El Compa.

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