Tuesday, 3 July 2007

London's Best...Burritos

Today kicks off the first in a series that I’m calling London’s Best. In my highly opinionated opinion, I have found several food-stuffs while eating around London that I think qualify as the best of that particular food-stuff I’ve found. Today’s London’s Best is a burrito.

London suffers from a confusing lack of Mexican food generally, and particularly a lack of good Mexican food. It’s easy enough to attribute it to the smaller numbers of native Mexicans creating their cuisine in the UK than, say, in the US. However, Mexican food can be outstandingly good without a heap of complexity going into it. I’ve long thought that if I could start my own burrito business, I’d have a hit on my hands.

Well, sadly, someone’s beaten me to it. But I can’t be too sad – these burritos are wonderful things, and any jealousy I have over someone acting on my burrito idea vanishes with eating the thing, because I’m just too joyous that someone has served me such a thing of tasty excellence. Freebird Burritos operates out of Exmouth Market on Monday – Thursdays, serving behemoths of burritos that keep you going for hours.

The burritos aren’t just large and packed full of bits, but the bits inside have great attention to detail. Each burrito comes with rice, your choice of refried or black bean, your choice of meat, your choice of salsa spiciness, cheese and sour cream, and optional guacamole. The rice alone is stunning, lightly flavoured with lime and coriander and tying the whole thing together. My favourite meat is the Carnitas (pork), which is cooked in juniper berries and bay leaves and some other magic to make it taste as good as it does. All servings are very generous, and the only complaint is that the burrito is so stuffed full of good things that it can get quite messy, but you do learn how to create a foil shield with the wrapper to avoid disasters. They have begun to do deliveries of 4 or more orders to the same office, which can be a dangerous thing since it guarantees more burritos in my future. Which will make me fight that jealous/happy balance all the more often.


burritolover said...

i totally agree that the best burrito in London can be found at freedbirds on exmouth market.

I've been in london for just under 10 years after coming over from Cali and i would have to say i've tried all the variations of burritos london has to offer.

i found them only two weeks ago (not sure how long they have been there) they are the best burritos in london and there is no two ways about it.

KD said...

I have tried this place once and intend to go again, but I have to say that so far no one has topped daddy donkey for me (www.daddydonkey.co.uk) they are a 10 minute walk from FreeBird and if you havent tried them you really should!! I actually went on friday to go back to freebird and forgot they are not open then...which is when I reaised daddy donkey is walking distance :-)

I agree there is such a lack of good tasty fresh mexican restauarnts

bigdaddy said...

@ kd....

i agree that daddy d's make good burrito but for my taste the carnitas from freebird is unrivalled by anything I’ve tried in London including daddy d's.

the one point that does actually bother me about daddy d's is that they charge a whopping £6.5 for a burrito and guacamole....which is a lot for what they are offering out of a trailer.

i hope with the rise of these two burrito joints its some sort of indication that the future is going to bring us all sorts of Mexican culinary treats.


Annemarie said...

Thanks everyone for calling Daddy Donkey to my attention – I may have to visit them at lunch today just so I can carry out a fair comparison. Viva la revolucion de la comida mexicana! (or something to that effect).

Anonymous said...

Daddy Donkey is brilliant. Very,very tasty.

Anonymous said...

im going to do a comparison on monday or tuesday and will announce my verdict based on the following:


I will be in touch....

Annemarie said...

Great idea about doing the comparison and the factors you're looking into. Can I also request you compare sloppiness of the two? I've had some friends fall victim to an exploding burrito when trying to tackle the Freebird burrito too eagerly.

I look forward to the report - and if you have pictures, those would be great too!


Anonymous said...

I would vote that the old beach burrito cafe in soho was the best. I was shattered when they closed down, but have since reopened in chelsea and now another restaurant in notting hill. Can't wait to try the notting hill one...... has any one else ben there.....

Anonymous said...

yes been there and to be honest....not that great! but fingers crossed they will get better as they grow!

Pharma said...

Hi Its James from Freebird Burritos,

thanks so much for the kind words above

We now operate at the following location:

Exmouth Market
Monday - Thursday

Goodge Place
Monday - Friday

Sunday up Market (Just off Brick lane)

We are launching two more Monday - Friday markets over the next couple of weeks and will keep you updated.

We are a small burritos outfit trying to educate londoners one burrito at a time our chef is Carlos a Mexican guy who graduated from the same culinary institute of America (CIA) as steve ells the founder of chipotle.



Anonymous said...

Dont forget Beach Burrito (now called Eat Mexicali), which will be reopening in Soho and has other shops in London - www.eatmexicali.com

Still, Id say FreeBirds is better cuz I love Chipotle in the states and FBs meat is a lil tastier than BB....now when are you opening up some shops James?!?!!? :D

Other than these 2 places, mexican in london is horrible... oh besides www.mestizomx.com which is authentic mex, must check it out! and now there is Wahacca in convent garden, but its kinda like Starbucks Mexican... ;)


James Howland said...

its james from freebird burritos just wanted to give you a quick update we have been trading at our new location in Goodge place for a couple of weeks which is going really well and the evening standard 12.09.07

"the best kept secret of authentic Mexican food lovers"

We are going to be trading at the Thames festival this weekend, which will coincide with Mexican Independence Day, I hope you can drop in and say hi

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have any info on the menu for freebirds? How much will a burrito set me back at lunch? Do they offer fajitas?

Anonymous said...

Not normally my bag to big up anything online, as i'm a bit of a picky gal when it comes to eats in London... especially the (basic/evolving) mexican offerings of the past.

But i found a place opposite angel tube called Tortilla, and it kicks butt. No if's, no kicked but's.

The chicken burrito, pinto and cilantro offering is the stuff of legend - just like being home...


Anonymous said...

What happened to the Freebird burrito stand at Goodge Place? It disppeared and I can't find out why. Anyone?

Annemarie said...


The freebird stalls all disappeared after Christmas for a couple of weeks because the chef (and main burrito man at Exmouth Market) had to have his appendix out. Everyone was getting quite panicked that they were gone, but he's back now and fully fit, and so the burritos have returned to. A big relief on a few fronts. :)


Anonymous said...

check out mucho mas on upper street in islington...kicks my grandmother's ass...whatever that means... anyway seriously good US style burritos.

Anonymous said...

forget the freedbirds the BEST BURRITO IN LONDON, is the Restaurante Tortilha Mexican Grill try and say somenting. Angel nº13

Straat-Toe said...

Man I use to get one of those burritos (the matured steak) on a Thursday after my morning delivery's. This and a few other food favourites is what I really mis about London. Back in South Africa now and I just told all my friends in LDN to go grab a BURRITOOOOO.

Anonymous said...

Burrito Bros on Clerkenwell Rd in Farrindon is my personal favorite. Daddy Donkey isn't bad either but I don't really see what the fuss is about.