Luck Lust Liquor and Burn

17 Feb

Predicting trends is a risky business, but with Brazil playing host to the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, not to mention the investment in tourism across the continent and the economic growth taking place in Mexico and Peru, the next few years without doubt will see the spotlight shining firmly on South America, and we’re about to notice.

If reactions to the Olympic closing ceremony were anything to go by – Brazil shook its ass and showed us just how to throw a party – it’s only a matter of time before the increased exposure to all things Latin completely captures our imaginations. Before we know it, we’ll be knee deep in feijoada and enchilada, and amigos, we will love it! Rich, punchy flavours and age-old food traditions telling tales of the culture from which they came, South American food is going to be a seriously easy sell.

Lord knows, I love me a frozen margarita.

As always, the smart money gets in early, and the UK has already seen an influx of Latin-inspired eateries at which we can feast. The most recent wave is bringing increasingly authentic representations of dishes and new food styles and flavours, with familiarity helped considerably by the ongoing street food trend, lending itself easily to people trialling new dishes. Chipotle, churros and ceviche are now common food currency, and before we know it, we’ll be calling out for coxinha and slamming shots of mezcal.*

As usual, London is well ahead of the curve. Carnitas burritos (as seen at Luardos) played beautifully into last years obsession with all things quick and dirty, and well-travelled Masterchef winner Thomasina Miers is expanding her incredibly successful Mexican food empire across London – sadly no Wahaca in Manchester just yet (despite considerable begging on Twitter). Higher up the food chain, Lima introduced high-end Peruvian inspired food to our countries capital. It’s practically a fiesta down there.

Here in Manchester, on the other hand, we’re having a siesta. Despite the valiant efforts of the mighty Panchos, serving us shots of tequila and brick-sized burritos, there hasn’t been much doing. Bem Brasil has the right idea – all you can eat meat churrascaria-style – but the wrong price (£24.50 for dinner only) to get the love affair off the ground, and whilst Margo and Rita, a new Mexican street food venture are debuting at Guerrilla Eats next weekend, we’re still in desperate need of a decent South American eaterie.

Help!

Enter Luck Lust Liquor and Burn (LLLB) – the Mexi-Cali inspired brainchild from the guys behind boozy burger joint Almost Famous. True to brand with a bold name, interesting back story (inspired by a ‘Vegas to Mexico road trip through the Golden State’ appaz) and a bolshy Twitter feed, this North and South American food mash up isn’t the authentic portion I was hoping for, but it’s a start. Promising burgers, burritos, tacos and chilli of the aforementioned fast and filthy variety, expectations were still high.

Jesus loves tacos. Oh yes he does.

Jesus loves tacos. Oh yes he does.

Sandwiched between Almost Famous on the top floor and the bar that once housed Socio Rehab (and where LLLB’s new bar now squats), ever the masters of mystery, excitement builds as you traverse a (sort of) hidden staircase to find the restaurant. Bedecked in wood, soft lighting and pictures of Lucha Libre styled Chihuahuas (I know), its fun to look at, as is the rough and ready paper printed menu written in that infamous Almost Famous vernacular. (A man vs. food style Tapout Burrito ‘lubed’ in sauce, anyone?)

South American food, The writings on the wall (soz)

South American food – the writing’s on the wall (soz)

My friend Aoife and I plumped for a few ‘quick fixes’. Charred chicken and peanut lettuce cups with a pineapple and mango salsa and Hawaiian BBQ crispy coated chicken breasts with a crack-like blue cheese sauce provided a big old flavour hit. Taste buds piqued, we cracked on with our burrito ‘supremos’ – taking centre stage on the menu, they were hard to ignore – though we were both sorely tempted by the Sloppy Juan Burger, a chilli-topped mass with chipotle sour cream. (See Dollybakes for a review).

Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Blasts

Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Blasts

Lettuce Cups

Lettuce Cups

Entertaining a Beef Smackdown burrito of shredded beef, chipotle gravy, cheddar cheese, hot sauce and tomato mayo, I was fully expecting a knock out, but the bold flavours promised barely made an appearance. Thinking myself merely unlucky, I selflessly (cough) checked out Aoife’s Alabama Bone Sucking Slammer of pulled pork, BBQ sauce, Monterey Jack and blue cheese sauce fame, and still no smack down. How? This is simply slow cooked meat and sweet, spicy sauces? Where did the flavour go?

Beef Smackdown Burrito

Beef Smackdown Burrito

It would be unfair to say that the food was bland, but it wasn’t the all-singing, all-dancing South American fare I’m used to, though on the plus side, the fries were excellent and the side sauces (yes, I ordered more blue cheese) were bob on. Seems the American influence is one they can easily master. As the starters were so delicious and with so much more to explore round the rest of the menu, I’d definitely return again. I just won’t be celebrating with their burritos again any time soon. Back to Panchos for me.

* Let us all be grateful. We can now ignore the mass-produced, watered-down efforts of Las Iguanas and the cardboard toting Taco Bell.

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6 Responses to “Luck Lust Liquor and Burn”

  1. laurencoulman November 4, 2013 at 7:27 pm #

    I haven’t been in a while, so couldn’t comment on the quality of the food currently, but have had far better Mexican elsewhere, and find the hype a little too much to swallow at times. Lots of my friends love it though. Enjoy!

  2. Ashley November 4, 2013 at 12:46 pm #

    I Have to completely disagree with this it is the beef smack down that kick started my addiction to Mexican food. The texture of this burrito is by far the best I have had so far and keeps me going back to Lust at least twice a month. Its full of unique but simple flavour and even though its major filling you don’t want it to end.

    I also went to Panchos and found there burritos good but they had that plain old saw dusty spice what gets old fast and that used to steer me away from mexican food. Please do not be put of in my eyes the best burrito around trust me its awesome, I have taken over ten people all of them are now also LL&B addicts plus the price is great to.

    my only con is the damn waiting list its ridicules me and friends take a 30 mile journey to on numerous occasions to be told that we cant book only to turn up and have to walk away rather than wait 4 hours.

  3. laurencoulman February 18, 2013 at 1:34 pm #

    Lucie – its a date!

    Ricardo – make a beeline for Panchos. Its the thing, or at the very least, is the thing in Manchester. They also sell chillies and tequilas, so well worth a little look.

    Completely agreed on the quality at Bem Brasil, but think if they dropped prices, they’d get more covers and therefore more turnover. As a result, the salad buffet could be restocked more regularly and be much fresher as a result (one of the key reasons I haven’t returned) and they could invest in better quality meats too. Not a patch of the real thing, all in all.

  4. luciebartlett February 18, 2013 at 12:57 pm #

    Next time you are in London I am definitely taking you to La Bodega Negra. Frozen margaritas are just the tip of the delicious Mexican iceberg. labodeganegra.com/

  5. Ricardo Gândara (@rmcgandara) February 17, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

    Need to get to panchos, I have walked around in the market and was pretty interested but can never make my mind what to eat there and then I run away in panic!

    For a brazillian flavour you would likely to go with a “coxinha” and “pinga” (this being cachaça the beautiful booze that makes caipirinhas).

    I wouldn’t say that Bem Brazil is expensive just that the quality that you get in Brazil and btw in some places in Portugal (obv by Brazilian influence) is not yet matched.

    Have not been to LLLB (yet) as I am too busy trying all the specials from Solita 🙂

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Luck, Lust, Liquor and Burn | cityofrandom - August 26, 2013

    […] checked out the blog of her mate, who writes Lickerish Split. You can check out her review of LLLB here. If I’m honest, I concur. The food was good, but didn’t seem to impress beyond Mexican […]

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