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Monday, April 15, 2013

A Taste Of The Mission In North London

Amigos, 171 Holloway Rd, London, Greater London N7 8LX
Phone: 020 7700 7111

My period of mourning is over.....I have discovered a burrito place that comes close to filling the tortilla shaped hole in my heart left by 'Big Burrito'.

Amigos is located on Holloway Road in North London, a short walk from Highbury and Islington Station. It was recommended to me by a friend, so this past sunny Sunday seemed a good opportunity to go and check it out.

Walking along Holloway Road with it's wide variety of cafes and various eateries in the sun I was reminded of visits to my favourite city, San Francisco. Walking into Amigo's with it's colourful decor and the smell of meat on the grill and freshly prepared salsa I was mentally transported to San Francisco's Mission area - or as I like to think of it 'Burrito Heaven'.

I went for the chicken burrito (usually my standard filling when assessing a burrito place). Whilst this was being prepared I was struck by the great customer service - instead of trying to skirt over giving me the options of extras such as jalapenos these were all offered to me first. Plus I was even offered an option on how the jalapenos were prepared! Great stuff.

The burrito (with all the trimmings) and a can of soft drink came to a total of 6 pounds - great value for money!

The food itself was delicious. The wrap had that slight crisp, warm taste that characterises a good tortilla, the chicken was clearly fresh and flavorsome. Generous helpings of guacamole bursting with freshness and spicy refried beans.

It also passed the 'standing on it's own' test, so was clearly well wrapped:

Other options on the menu include beef, pork and prawns (the latter I've only seen offered at Chilangos in the UK so I will definitely be checking that out soon).

If you're on a night out in this neck of the woods, or looking for an economical and tasty lunch on a sunny Sunday afternoon, you will be hard pressed to find a better option than Amigos.

Check out their website here:

This is what I sung upon leaving:

Big thanks to Graham Holiday for notifying me of Amigos - UEA!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

R.I.P. Big Burrito

I am a man in mourning. Just recently I took a walk over Blackfriars Bridge to find that my favourite burrito joint, 'The Big Burrito Company' was no more.

Working in the Farringdon road area means being at something of an epicenter of burrito choice. Two branches of Chilangos within walking distance, a stones throw from the mighty Daddy Donkey Leather Lane, the varied fillings of Mexicana, and the popular Adobo.

However, a few months back deciding to venture away from the hustle and bustle of Fleet Street I ventured over Blackfriars Bridge deciding to see what was going down in Southwark. Beneath a bridge near the station I discovered this wondrous hole in the wall - like a pot of Mexican gold at the end of the rainbow.

On first glance I wasn't sure what to make of it. Everything about the place screamed 'put together over night' from to the chalk board menus adorning it's front down to the completely ramshackle interior. The there was the staff:

A random pairing lookalikes of actors Peter Capaldi and Danny Dyer. I always got the impression these two had only just met - and whenever the Malcolm Tucker type went to make a burrito he had to be talked through it by Dyer. Given the randomness of this coupling I wondered if they were on the run, and had just turned over a shipment of mexican ingredients on route elsewhere.

Which brings GLAC to the crowning glory of Big Burrito.... the food. Check out this bad boy:

A unique touch of this place was the vaiery of sizes - burritos could be bought as small, medium and large. The largest burrito, with guacamole as an extra, would come to close to around 6 pounds, the smallest around 4. Great value compared to almost every other chain I can name. The meat was always fresh, tasty and disitinctive, the guacamole bursting with freshness, and the hot sauce was sizzling!

Around the same time I came across this place I ventured with mates to 'Death By Burrito', another newly opened mexican place in Shoreditch. The decor was great, giving the feel of a San Francisco dive bar. It had a great range of beers on tap. However, the burritos themselves were the size of an iPhone. True they had some imaginative fillings, (duck and fish amongst them) but this didn't make up for the wraps which were like biting into cardboard. Oh and that vital ingredient of the burrito guacamole? That came as a side, for dipping.

The the bill - along with a drink this came close to 12 pound a head. All for an average burrito and coke. My nose twitched at the stench of 'style over substance'. Death by hipster-baiting.

The Big Burrito company did what it said on the tin. It was a cool, ramshackle hole in the wall where all that mattered was the food. There are some great chains out there now. Chilango's especially. But for ever Chilango\s there will be a Death By Burrito, ready and waiting to drag the name of my favourite meal through the dirt.

I loved this little underdog of a place, it will be missed. I hope somewhere Peter Capaldi and Danny Dyer are setting up another hole in the wall and giving the chains a serious run for their money.

This is what I sung the night I found it had closed: