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Barburrito leads Mexican wave

It's all change on the city's restaurant scene. Here's one you may not have heard of before

Published on September 25th 2008.

Barburrito leads Mexican wave

YES, yes. We know that you all know that Liverpool Confidential does restaurant reviews. Enough of you read them.

So how about a preview for a change? A sort of we've-been-there-and-here's-what's-in-store?

What's in store is quite a lot when Liverpool One opens its restaurant terrace in a couple of weeks time. Shops, you know about already. But Liverpool One is about to become home to a massive Odeon and dozens of new places to eat.

Confused. You might be. You may not of heard of many of them. But, given our experience in Manchester, just last week, the place you might want to stop by first is Barburrito.

Why? Well The Guardian lists it in the Top 50 healthy fast food places to eat in the UK. Miserable restaurant critic Matthew Norman even liked it when he ventured up t'M1 from London to sample its quite unique operation. Marie Claire called it “award winning, casual and cool.”

But never mind all that. We went. And we liked it too.

Mainly this is because we are greedy, and the first thing you notice about Barburrito is that everything is zinging with freshness and is as lean and mean as Clint Eastwood in an arid desert haze. Actually, take the “mean” bit back: The portions are, in fact, big, generous, colourful and as spicy as you do or don't like. Conversely, they are low, low on fat; unless, of course, you say “cheese” and apparently they'll happily oblige.

With two outlets in Manchester already (Piccadilly Gardens and The Trafford Centre), the Barburrito ethos, they say, is freshly prepared fast food inspired by the street stalls of Mexico. Casual fast dining, they call it, and there is nothing quite like it in this country. For a start, we quickly noted, in what other fast food joint around here can you get pitchers of Margueritas (£14.95)? And they do do a good Marguerita here, it turns out.

Barburrito's feel is all muted colours and contemporary furnishings, making it easy on the eye. But the Confidential team were too busy looking at the food, which they prepare right in front of you. The ingredients are all made on site, every day, even down to the pinto beans simmering away on the stove back there.

First you select your dish: Burrito (rolled up flour tortilla); quesadilla (a Mexican toasted tortilla sandwich, basically); a burrito bowl, which is, er, a burrito, in a bowl; crispy corn tacos or crispy corn nachos. Then add any of these Mexican-style, marinated ingredients: Grilled chicken, braised pork, shredded beef, grilled steak or veggies.

Top it off with a choice of mild, medium or fiery salsas, maybe get some guacamole or cheese sauce on the side, extra chillies and a Corona.. And hey, gringo, you're away. Or you can sit in.

On our visit we sampled the burritos. Small versions go from £3.15 up to a big grilled steak 'un at £5.45. Rolled up in foil, there are even instructions on the trays on how to peel off the wrapping and tackle things. So no embarrassing faux pas. As hot as it goes on one side of the table, with chipolte salsa (fiery and slightly sweet with wood smoked chipolte chillies, roasted tomatoes, honey and wine), it was a very pleasant accompaniment to the chargrilled steak.

Another of our number prefers the mild side of life and found plenty to smile about with a pico de gallo salsa, coriander, tomatoes, lime juice and just a whisper of green chilli, served with flavoursome pork that had been braised in orange, thyme and bay leaves (£5.20).

We tried everything in here on the day. The chicken quesadillas (£3.95) were delicious, the vegetarian nachos (£3.85) light and crisp, the tortillas bouncing with freshness. Oh and the staff seemed to enjoy what they were doing too.

Really though, the thing to like about Barburrito is that it's all things to a lot of scenarios: A great lunchtime alternative, even a good early evening fill-up before a night out.

Verdict: Substantial, healthy food with no pretensions whatsoever, what you see is what you get. And what you see is pretty good looking.

*Barburrito opens at Liverpool One on October 1.

The Galleria,
14 Paradise Street,
Liverpool, L1 8JF.
0151 708 5085

“The Man With No Name”

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8 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Gringo StarrSeptember 17th 2008.

I don't imagine people in the street stalls of Mexico eat with napkins and cutlery. But the one in the Trafford Centre is very posh looking. Certainly no bits of shelves or plastic tables. Not like Subway!

DigSeptember 17th 2008.

Finally. A place where I can wear my poncho and sombrero without feeling stupid. If smoking wasn't banned now I could even light up that cigar I've been saving.

GringoSeptember 17th 2008.

Tried it in the Trafford Centre recently and it rocks!

DigSeptember 17th 2008.

Nah it's because their bread is a substitute for healthy bread and their advertising is a substitute for honesty. Eat Fresh? How long have the meats, cheeses and salads been in those bowls if you go in at teatime?

Man With No NameSeptember 17th 2008.

Oops, will add some in, in a moment. But top food item is £4.85. Actually, £5.45.

You'll feel better with a Nudger inside you!September 17th 2008.

Ooh, missus!

Don Pedro, The Lancashire ToreadorSeptember 17th 2008.

'Appen, but I also imagine that the Mexican street stalls are probably cheaper!

Juan KerrSeptember 17th 2008.

Eh, Greeeengo! No mention of dee prices!

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