There’s nothing more I dislike (when I’m busy during lunch hour) than having to queue in line for ages to place an order and then spend another 10-15 minutes waiting for my lunch to be cooked.
During “lunch-hour”, I usually only have a spare 10 minutes to run down, grab a sushi roll or a sandwich, run back up and get back to work.
Sometimes, the lure of the big fast food chains prove to be too much and I cave in. More often than not, I feel quite sleepy or ill, due to the high amount of salt/fat/sugar content in the food, which obviously is a big irony to my very busy schedule. I can’t afford to rest at work!
So when I heard Mad Mex was coming to town (literally) and were going to be based in the newly renovated Melbourne Central dining hall, I couldn’t help but be a bit sceptical. “Not another fast food chain!”, I groaned loudly.
But I was soon proven to be quite wrong. Mad Mex is not another fast food chain. It is in fact a fast casual restaurant, joining the likes of Nando’s, Grill’d, Crust, and so forth in their quests to put restaurant quality food in a fast paced dining capacity.
You’d be forgiven if you were to walk by the Mad Mex outlet (in the newly refurbished Level 2 Melbourne Central dining hall) and thought, “Not another fake Mexican joint in Melbourne!”
However, you would not be forgiven if you decided to forego tasting their food. They do allow you to taste-test their fillings before deciding what you’d like to go into your burrito, tacos, enchiladas, etc.
Mad Mex is certainly not fake. It actually does a pretty good and authentic Mexican meal. Even Jimmy, another foodie attending on behalf of Celeste, who was part of this media launch was impressed. Rightly so, Jimmy grew up in Texas baby! That’s a hell of a lot closer than I’ve ever been to Mexico. And if Jimmy says it’s authentic, it is. It was quite funny really, watching the flow of conversation between Jimmy and Clovis Young, the founder of Mad Mex. Each time Jimmy reassured the group that a certain ingredient or drink was what he had in Texas, you could see Clovis’ eye twinkle with satisfaction.
Clovis had mentioned, “The people of Melbourne really do appreciate fine food and prioritise quality over pure convenience more than other cities.”
Hell yeah! As well as using the freshest produced sourced from the region and cooking it fresh on location, Mad Mex tries to incorporate as much of the true Mexican flavours into their menu. Even their tortilla chips were made by a Mexican family (living in NSW)! The guacamole is freshly made and seasoned onsite as well. For an extra $2, it may seem pretty steep, but trust me, until you’ve tried it, please don’t judge. It’s the best tasting guacamole you’ll find in the area.
So what did a bunch of us managed to try? We had the chance to go through the whole motion of ordering our food, taste-testing some of the fillings and then placing our orders. The assembly line worked pretty similarly as a Subway outlet and is really just as fast. It took about 10 minutes when we were there but Clovis assures us that they could be faster once their training was completed (We were there for the opening week).
To order, you go through a simple 3 step process. Step 1: Choose your Mad Mex style (i.e. tacos, burritos, quesadilla, etc). Step 2: Choose your filling (i.e. Chicken, Pork, Beef, Steak, or Veggies). Step 3: Add fresh salsas!
Once we’d ordered, I happily took pictures from those lucky enough to be seated by me (*wink*). Pictured above is the rather popular Naked Buritto $9.90. Served in a bowl, it makes a perfect salad for those looking for a wrap free option. It has black beans, cheese, rice, lettuce, sour cream and a choice of your filling.
Later, Clovis brought us some Tortilla chips with melted Queso cheese and fresh guacamole to try. So so so good. You can really taste the difference of freshly made Tortilla chips as opposed to the packeted ones you usually get served with.
I myself, ordered the Mad Mex famous Burrito $10.90. You can actually choose a smaller burrito for $7.90, which I highly recommend as I could only get through half of mine. The regular is huge and would suit a really hungry person. My burrito came with the standard salad filling, but with the added guacamole and my choice of slow roasted pork (carnitas) filling. I also chose the hottest salsa available on the menu to top my burrito off. It was called Picante which has some exciting habanero chilli. However, I didn’t find it spicy enough but Clovis was happy to accomodate and came back with a whole bottle of habanero chilli sauce! Awesome!!
From memory, Claire had the Soft Tacos $8.90 but I can’t seem to remember what filling she chose to go with it.
One of the great things I liked about dining at Mad Mex, is that they actually let their customers sample the fillings prior to ordering. So if you’re standing in line and can’t decide whether to have the beef or chicken, just ask for a taste test.
The staffs are friendly and happy to accomodate (and this really had nothing to do with us being part of the launch, we were lining up together with everyone else, so they wouldn’t have known!).
Would I come back for more? Sure thing. I’m actually craving for some of that pulled pork right now. So good! MMmmmm…
One other important thing I figured I should mention, is that Mad Mex is quite open in serving good and healthy food to their customers. In December 2010, they launched the revolutionary online nutritional calculator, allowing customers to customise and calculate the nutritional value of their meals. This is available via their website on http://www.madmex.com.au/nutrition and is also optimised for smart phones, so you can pretty much whip out your phone and calculate to your heart’s healthy content 🙂
For other recounts to this Mad Mex invasion, please visit:
Eat, Drink, Stagger
[Ms I-Hua dined as a guest of Mad Mex and 6dc Public Relations]
*Disclaimer: All food ratings are purely based on my own experiences and how I feel about the service, food and quality at the time of visit
Food/ Cuisine: Mexican
Dining Style: Fast Casual Restaurant
Overall Food Rating (Based on the Dining style): 8/10 (It really does rank quite highly IMHO with their deliciously fresh ingredients)
Restaurant ambiance: 7/10 (It is after all located as part of the dining hall)
Service/ Attitude: 8/10
Value for money: N/A
Level 2, Dining Hall
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel: (03) 9663 7010
Mad Mex (Melb Central) is open
Sunday & Monday, 11am to 7pm
Tuesday, Wednesday & Saturday, 11am to 8pm
Thursday & Friday, 11am to 9pm
How to get there:
I ate burritos at boston too. 🙂 with black beans!!!
oOO… We must have the same intuition! Was it good over there?
Ok, I’m salivating. I haven’t had legit Mexican food outside of Mexico since leaving the US two years ago. If there’s something reasonably close to the real deal at Mad Mex I might die of happiness.
I’m not sure about legit, but it’s a lot better than the other types of fast mexican food I’ve eaten here 🙂
Great post! I wish I had gone to the media event now but I was quite busy that day. 🙁 must go try it out sometime.
You should have come! Then we could have met 😉
I will next time for sure! 🙂
I know where I’ll be eating next time I’m there
I just liked that everything was cooked on the spot or catered to be fresh 🙂
Oh, I hope this comes to Canberra soon! We have nothing even approaching adequate Mexican food. As an aside, just this weekend I discovered that Grill’d has opened at the shopping centre near my parent’s place! Whee! What would you recommend there?
Lols.. I have never been to Grill’d before, so wouldn’t know what to recommend !!!
I find numerous things a bit off in your post. I don’t normally post, but I’m tired is getting directed to blogs with opionions from people who don’t pay for the food or do much research outside of the facts listed in the take away menu.
First is your idea of Mexican food. Your friend is from Texas, not Mexico. Sure, he could be Mexican who lived in Texas, but based on your writing he knows the mexican based food of Texas. This means he is probably more familiar with Tex-Mex which is vastly different than Mexican food. Sure he might be closer to Mexico, but it’s still not Authentic Mexican.
I also fail to see how eating chips, cooked hundreds of kilometers away made by a family in NSW is any different that a chip made hundreds of kilometers away, maybe even in NSW by a company. They weren’t made in house so there’s not much difference if they were made two weeks ago and sat in a shipping container. They are right up there with the pre-packaged corn tortillas used. They aren’t made fresh and taste more like cardboard than corn. An authentic mexican restaurant (even takeaway spots) would be making their own corn tortillas and frying their own chips fresh.
Lastly, carnitas is not pulled pork. Pulled pork is a pork shoulder than is cooked low and slow over low heat usually with a hard wood to impart flavour and then covered in a sauce. Carnitas is cooked low and slow in fat. Closer to a confit than a pulled pork.
Hi and thanks for your view and comments shared. I do believe your corrections stand ground, and I have mentioned I’m not expert on Mexican fare, so if you know more, I’m happy to learn 🙂
I thought it was just me. As I read this post I couldn’t help but get a sense of contradictory notions about it being “authentic” Mexican, although I appreciate you don’t claim to be an expert.
I have been to the Mad Mex in Windsor a number of times with two people who grew up in Mexico, and whilst they said it was more authentic than say, Salsas, “it’s still not authentic”.
I do appreciate Mad Mex offers a range of slow cooked meats and spices but can’t help but feel it lacks something.
Oh, and the “chips” – rubbish in my opinion. I think I’ve eaten tastier corn chips that are stale. I also think the guacamole lacks flavour and substance.
I love your blog but I think this one carries an air of bias. Then again, maybe this particular Mad Mex is ran completely different to the other franchise…
Hi Skinny Phat. Apologies that my post left you on the slightly confused side. That was definitely not the intention. With my fast food experiences having been Salsa’s and TB which I don’t agree with :P, I really liked the freshness of the food served from Mad Mex. Maybe for the chips and guacamole that I had were fresh? That’s sad that you got the stale side of things. The food that I had on that day was really good, but I can’t guarantee anything else other than that 🙂 Thanks for your comment 🙂
Hi Ms I-Hua, no problem – that’s the great thing about trying food at different places – everyone’s opinion is different 🙂
I’d definitely go back because it’s unique and fast, not to mention the burritos are pretty tasty! Plus I like the fact that some of it is actually spicy mmm!
Ahahaha I love your description of James and Clovis’ conversation! Loved the review too, we’ve been back for lunch far too many times now XD
I need to head back too! But I think I’ll go to the Windsor branch, much nearer and I don’t have to walk to the other end of town during my lunch break 🙂
I missed quite a fair bit for being late. I have been back once for lunch.
You did! By the time you got there, we were on our tasting snacks!!
@ skeptical-most of us, i myself included, pay for our food. not just try it for free, although i do have to admit i like trying out samples for free if a business has.
@ Ms I-Hua… I haven’t tried the place but I do have to agree about waiting in line in a food court for more than 10 minutes when you have to rush off to somehwere
@ jeroxie- is it any good. because i want to go there