Archive for January, 2013

Taco Bell

Hi there. My name is Mullies, and this is my burrito blog. It’s been a long time. Some might say TOO long. I’m not sure who those people are, because no-one seems to have noticed my absence, but still. I’m sure loads of people are saying it.

I haven’t updated this blog for over a year, after I noticed at the tail-end of 2011 that I’d gained a stone. Thoroughly mystified, I did some detective work and was horrified to discover that burritos are NOT a diet food! I KNOW, right? Anyway, because I still sometimes wake up in the dark and hear the screaming of my arteries, I didn’t have a single takeaway burrito during 2012.

Until, that is, I found Taco Bell.

On the face of it, Basildon has little going for it. In fact, it had just three things:

1. I was born there, which both lends the town a certain je ne sais quoi and means that to this day, a soft golden light hovers over the local hospital.

2. The council saw fit to officially rename Festival Leisure Park – a car park surrounded by a nightclub, a bowling alley and about 500 kebab vans – according to the locals’ nickname for it, ‘Bas Vegas,’ even erecting Vegas-style signage. A fine homage for an area Wikipedia describes as, ‘a well-known trouble spot’ (citation needed).

3. Musical comedy act Kunt and the Gang are from Basildon.

Basildon, you BEAUTY

Basildon, you BEAUTY

But now, there is a fourth, gleaming positive to add to Basildon’s impressive list of plus-points. Taco Bell is famed throughout the US, and name-checked in several sitcoms, films and interviews with Roseanne Barr. When it chose to expand to the UK, Yum! Brands Inc, Taco Bell’s optimistically named founding father, clearly thought long and hard about where to open it’s purple doors. And in a stroke of genius, it chose Manchester, Lakeside and…BASILDON.

Yes: Basildon is, improbably, home to one of only three Taco Bells in the entire UK. So when I went home for Christmas (in nearby Billericay, whence my parents fled when I was 11), I knew I owed it to you – the loyal fans of Mullies’ Burrito Blog who definitely noticed it hasn’t been updated for a year – to go there.

The day after Boxing Day, all round and full of turkey sandwiches, I dragged my mum to Basildon in the pouring rain. Basildon, home to the Eastgate Centre, home to the Food Court, home to a third of the UK’s Taco Bells. It was a glamorous semi-colon between Christmas and New Year, and Mum looked appropriately thrilled.

My only obstacle to sampling Taco Bell’s delights was that it’s adjacent to a Domino’s outlet. Above all things, even burritos, I love pizza. And Dominos, the little scamps, were offering a mouth-watering lunch deal involving a doughy delight, side AND drink for about 10p or something. But I knew I had to be strong. So, like a pizza-loving Lady Macbeth, I screwed my courage to the sticking place, averted my eyes, and marched to the counter.

Now, loyal fans of Mullies’ Burrito Blog (who definitely noticed it hasn’t been updated for a year), will know that Taco Bell doesn’t fit the blog’s stringent criteria. Unless it’s a guest post, in order to be reviewed a burrito has to come from London and contain the standard chicken, black beans, cheese, sour cream and hot sauce combo, in the interests of fairness.

Unfortunately Taco Bell is NOT BK, and does NOT let you have it your way. So instead, I decided to go for the VOLCANO BURRITO, which had minced beef in it and looked amazing and disgusting and like a kiss and a disappointing lover and a kind of floppy sad clown-face all at once. As Taco Bell’s Dad might say: Yum!

It came with paprika chips (which were, incidentally, AMAZING) and a drink for the bargain price of  *mumbles because I didn’t write it down.* I also threw in three different sachets of hot sauce because, hey, it’s CHRISTMAS. Then – inappropriately excited for a grown woman with things like a job in London and a family and eyes and ready access to food – I took my first bite of a Taco Bell burrito…

A festive Basoburrito


…And it was lovely. Quite possibly, it was lovely because I’ve barely thrown a coy glance in the direction of a burrito in the past year. Or perhaps it was lovely because my tastebuds have been shrivelled and wizened by a diet primarily comprising pizza, noodles and gin for the best part of 35 years. But still, it was squidgy and hot and meaty and cheesy and ricey and delicious.

I’d rhapsodise about the balance of ingredients and all that, but I couldn’t actually discern any of them individually. It was like eating a toddler’s finger painting and having to name the colours. It didn’t matter. I’ve eaten a Taco Bell in Basildon. I win.



Rating: Food 7/10, Ambience 2/10, Staff 4/10, Value 8/10

Where: Lakeside, Basildon, Manchester.

Web: Find them here  /@TacoBell

Recommended?: Yes, although don’t blame me if you have to go to Basildon to do it.