Restaurant Review: Bar Burrito, The Headrow, Leeds

DEREK the Donkey stares down at you from the walls of this, the latest outpost of a rapidly growing fast food empire.

Strangely for a business specialising in the cuisine of central America, it started out in central Manchester before spreading to Liverpool and, as of last year, The Headrow in Leeds.

Derek trotted along as part of a major branding exercise which has helped give this eaterie an unquestionable edge – and it looks great. Bright, functional, humorous, and all with a cool delivery that screams "concept".

This is no bad thing when it's a sound concept. It isn't exactly a new one, it must be pointed out. Bar Burrito has been mooted as the first of its kind in Britain.

Hmmm, maybe, but I doubt it somehow.

It wasn't so long ago Little Oliver found himself rolling his eyes in delight as he munched into an authentic burrito at just such a bar in Islington, for example, and I've no doubt there have been many similar bars operating in more 'urban' corners of the capital for years now.

Perhaps it's enough to say that this is one of the most mainstream burrito bars, like an Hispanic version of Subway. But unlike Subway you don't get that processed taste you'll get with one of their sandwiches (or maybe that's just me?).

Going back to my memorable Mexican experience in Islington for comparison, I can confirm that this is authentic stuff.

The tortillas are wonderfully fresh, soft and just the right temperature. The fillings are sensational whether you go for the hot or mild versions of meats, beans and salsa.

Added extras (which cost extra too) include onions and peppers and a lovely guacamole. And then there are little bowls of chips and nibbly stuff to have as sides too.

Burritos will cost you between 4.25 and 5.25 depending on whether you go for chicken, beef, pork, flashed fried vegetables or steak.

With all my chosen extras the final bill came to 6 and with a bottle of flavoured water the final bill was 8.

Is this good value or not? Well, it could be, but if you don't watch yourself you could easily go in, grab a little side order of chips and spend 20 on a meal for two comprised of what is essentially fast food. Fantastic, freshly prepared, nicely put together food, but fast food nonetheless.

And there are a few other mains that will see you part with your pounds too, namely nachos, tacos and burrito bowls.

On the other hand you could both just get a basic burrito and a glass of water and get change from a tenner.

The staff were very friendly, the atmosphere is not the cosiest since the doors were constantly open (despite it being exceptionally cold) and there is definitely a feel of being a restaurant of convenience – you come in, you get fed and you leave.

But it's still nicely fitted out with a style all of its own.

And, after all, where else is there quite like this in Leeds? Nowhere. It isn't perfect, but the new kid on the block is very welcome, as is Derek.

Star rating 4/5

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