Tuesday, 9 February 2010
Thursday, 4 February 2010
There’s a lot to love about Barburrito - a great location for starters at the heart of Manchester’s redeveloped Piccadilly Gardens – and some cracking food. I’m also grateful to them for making me realise that there’s an appetite for burritos outside of the M25, thus providing me with the inspiration to start this blog whilst eating there on a rainy November afternoon.
I’ll do a proper review of their food next time I’m up north, but what excites me about Barburrito is their ambitious expansion plans. They’ve already opened in a branch in Liverpool, and with stores to come in Leeds and Birmingham, alongside more branches in Manchester, they could easily become the biggest UK burrito chain by mid 2010. I’ll do a proper review of their food next time I’m up north, but what excites me about Barburrito is their ambitious expansion plans. They’ve already opened in a branch in Liverpool, and with stores to come in Leeds and Birmingham, alongside more branches in Manchester, they could easily become the biggest UK burrito chain by mid 2010. Exciting times indeed.
Speaking of burrito chains, in yesterday's Times Online there was a quote from Chipotle founder Steve Ellis in an article about spotting business opportunities. This is certainly the first time i've seen Chipotle mentioned in the UK press - is the PR starting to gear up for their April launch over here?
Saturday, 30 January 2010
With friends down from Liverpool, i figured a busy and chilly Saturday lunchtime would be a good time to road test the Islington branch of Chilango, which celebrates its first birthday next month.
I was a fan of owners Eric Partaker & Dan Houghton's first ventue into the London burrito market - Mucho Mas - which opened on the same site in late '06, but the decor was under-whelming, the service hit and miss, and the soda wasn't refillable. As soon as Tortilla opened down the road, i jumped ship.
Eleven months into its rebrand, Chilango seems to have attracted a loyal clientele, judging by the healthy queue for food today. As a restaurant it's certainly a much nicer place to eat than its predecessor , and considerably easier on the eye,having been given a colourful but clean makeover by design agency 'I Am' .
I opted for the chicken burrito (one size only interestingly) which was tender and nicely marinated. There was no choice of rice but the option of pinto or black beans (i chose black) plus a nice chunky salsa, a dash of hot salsa, lettuce and sour cream. The whole thing was topped off with refillable fountain soda - result.
My friends went for the steak and were impressed with the size and taste. However unusually for a Mexican kitchen, the veggie option was probably the most impressive, loaded with guacamole and peppers...so much so they had to replace the tortilla midway through being built as there was too much food in there. This is a definite plus in Chilango's favour, as its the pretty clientele, but that's another story...
The merits of Chilango vs Tortilla deserve a blog post of their own in the future, but both operators seem to have raised their game considerably in the last six months which is good news for anyone lusting after good burritos. Speaking of which, here's Chilango co-founder Eric Parkaker on BBC's Saturday kitchen showing you the secret of how to make a good burrito (as any burrito geek knows, it's all in the folding!)
Monday, 18 January 2010
Every since my first visit to California in 2002 I’ve been asking the same question; why doesn’t Britain ‘do’ burrito bars? After all as food, burritos are cheap, quick, healthy and a damn sight more tasty that calorific M&S packaged sandwiches and salty Subway atrocities. With refillable soda and free wifi, burrito bars are good places to spend a lazy afternoon in too, providing a welcome distraction from your local hostelry.
Over the last two years Britain’s burrito market seems to have emerge with popular hangouts in Manchester and London gaining more and more kudos. With American ‘super-burrito chain’ Chipotle opening its first UK outlet in April, 2010 looks like the year burrito bars go mainstream, so what better way to follow this story than blogging about them? Hell, at least it’s a constructive way of getting fat.