The little shack with the big queue weaving down Leather Lane, Daddy Donkey continues to do a roaring – if somewhat slow – trade in big old burritos.
Set halfway up the bustling market of this famous road, Daddy Donkey’s biggest advert comes from the snake of people waiting patiently for their lunch; if they’re willing to shuffle that slowly then it must be worth trying. A big board to the right of a truck daubed in attention-seeking hues lets you know what’s available, and a small bit of fencing keeps the hungry in line. Perusing the nearby market stalls alleviates a bit of the boredom but there are only so many cheap leather purses and pairs of socks you can look at from afar.
If you’re with friends then you can probably have a banging time in the queue, talking wistfully of memories past, or perhaps comparing the relative merits of Julie and Samantha from accounts. However, the queue’s a lonely place for one on their own, with only second hand conversation and some questionable happy hardcore for company. Once you get to the hatch, though, you’re met with a smile and courteous efficiency, and you can revel in the fact that you’re nearly there – it’s nearly Daddy Donkey time.
The burritos are good, it has to be said. They may not be as big as once they were, and they can’t bang on about organic, ethical ingredients, but there’s skill at the grill, everything’s fresh, and at £5.95 for your bog standard burrito, they’re pretty good on price too.
You can choose from the Daddy D (flour tortilla, black beans, coriander-lime rice, salsa, cheese, sour cream and whichever meat you fancy); the fajita burrito (same as the Daddy D but with peppers and onions replacing the black beans); or the naked burrito (either of the above served in a bowl, rather than a tortilla).
Once you’ve done that, you need to choose your meat. Grilled chicken is perhaps the best (marinated for long enough in their homemade Mexican rub and then char grilled in front of you) but the tomatillo beef (shredded brisket slow-cooked in tomatillo, chile de arbol and coriander salsa) is also worth a try. The picadillo (minced beef cooked with garlic, onion, spices chipotle and salsa) tastes a little like a spicy bolognaise so isn’t really as good, and the vegetarian option simply replaces the meat with guacamole, so the same goes.
Then just choose your heat (mild, medium, hot and a not-oft seen extra hot) and your extras (guacamole or jalapenos), and you’re good to go. Simply hide your face and get stuck in to something you will undoubtedly enjoy with very messy glee, before despising later for its hideously dilapidating effect on productivity.
Coke, Diet Coke, Tango and Sprite (60p) make up the carbonated lot, with This Water (£1.70) and Evian (£1) for those that don’t like bubbles.
The Last Word
If you can handle the queue, or can time it right, Daddy Donkey is a sterling lunchtime choice. Just don't let your boss catch you snoozing.