Where do I start when it comes to my ultimate favourite Mexican haunt?
A pal of mine originally introduced me to Zaps a few years ago and between the biggest burritos I’ve ever consumed and the little slices of heaven that are peanut butter zap jack’s, I was hooked! My burrito obsessed boyfriend and I actually had one of our first lunch dates there too (aw.)
Not only was Zapatista the first Burrito Bar to open in Newcastle, created by friends Chris Burn and David Wright back in 2012; they also strive to support local business’ buying their produce locally and making everything from fresh! Something wildly applauded in this city and rightly so! And obviously due their popularity they have been able to expand and now have two stores in Newcastle! Each of which is beside both gyms I go to… I am quite often in gym clothes in a burrito induced food coma (not sorry.)
So, as you can imagine I was super excited upon being invited to test out their NEW After 5 Cocktail and Food menu (which was pretty veggie/GF friendly!) Along with some of my favourite North East Bloggers. Not only because of how unreal their food is but because the staff are super nice, knowledgeable and helpful, which makes for a fabulous evening!
As we arrived we were presented with a mason jar filled with a delicious pink cocktail that blew my mind! It was tangy, strong and flavoursome. Everything you look for a cocktail, right?! But then, the food started to arrive and it literally never stopped… I kid you not. They have so many amazing new dishes that all came out like a wee Mexican tapas and every single bite was mouthwatering. And the whole time the lovely staff were bringing, ALL THE COCKTAILS. Light and sweet, sour and zesty, you name it! Beautiful frothy and frozen pink delights and fabulous martini glass’ brimming with blue alcohol that makes your tongue tingle. How much I actually enjoyed the taste of the tequila took me by surprise as usually I can NOT stomach it (that is a story for another day… lol) however, that is probably due to the fact their house tequila is El Jimador. Unreal.
First up, mild, medium and hot wings arrived at the table accompanied by fresh slaw and lime mayo. Now, usually I’m not very good with spice but decided to give them all a go! (wild, I know) And I was pleasantly surprised when they didn’t initially blow my head off but you could feel the heat under the flavour of the char-grilled chicken, totally fab.
Next up, Taquitos. My god, who would have though filled little sausage shaped fried tortillas could be so bloody delicious?! The three different fillings we tried were: Chilli Con Carne, Squash and Chickpea (probably my favourite! The girls and I literally drooled over this veggie one) and Frijoles with crumbled cheese all accompanied by a pot of honey and lime mayo and your choice of house slaw or fresh salad (which is dairy free and really tasty!). It may be good to note, one of the girls with us was Gluten Free and once mentioned to the staff, without hesitation they brought the GF alternative which she assured us was also amazing!
Then came these amazing open Baja Fish (cod) tacos with salsa verde. I was rather surprised to see fish on the menu and was slightly reluctant to try them at first. But, I must say they could have been one of the best things! (That being said – My love for the chickpea and squash Taquito will never die.) Speaking of sea food, we were also given the most amazing crispy calamari! Coated in Panko breadcrumbs with a squeeze of fresh lime and aioli they were to die for! Bravo on the seafood choices Zapatista, amazing.
As though we hadn’t eaten enough already, we had these beautiful meat balls and jalapeño poppers placed in front of us. I literally didn’t even get a chance to take a picture of the jalapeño poppers before the girls had devoured them, they definitely had their seal of approval! (they would have been too hot for me anyway!) But the meat balls were another story. My god they were sensational. Rich little balls of spice that melted in the mouth.
DESSERT. Anyone that knows me, knows this is my favourite part of any meal. I can’t lie though, I am not a huge fan of pineapple which is what we were served up (above.) HOWEVER, the key lime pie that came – insane. Having never actually had key lime pie before it was an intense tangy experience I will treasure forever, plus the pastry was perfection (that was 100% gone in about a minute flat so unfortunately no picture of that either! So, you’ll just have to go in and try it yourself, hint hint…)
10/10 would recommend. Especially as everything is so reasonably priced for the quality of the food! Plus, who needs more of an excuse for after work/weekend Mexican cocktails and food?! Andale!!
Naomi Con Amor x