For a quick trip to taste the flavours of Mexico, Poncho No 8 is the place to go for an alternative to a heavy sandwich.
Poncho No 8 sits down an easily missed alley connecting a busy road and a square full of restaurants. The wonderfully airy and simple space is similar to a cafe, with its open fridge, food counter and last-minute buys in the form of popcorn, chilli chocolate and home-baked treats. The white walls are made less bland with colourful lines and pictures of farmers and plants painted on to it. Cleverly, a small curved ceiling feature is placed on one side to avoid feeling like you’re in a box room; seating is limited but as it’s mainly a place for grabbing a lunch to go that's not too much of a problem.
To add a bit of freshness, plants hang upside-down as a part of the lights above the window seating bar, which draws some attention to the otherwise plain panel. The great touches that really making this place different are the lime wedges and the hand sanitizer sitting on the tables for you to use before diving in – it clearly understands its location and its cuisine.
House music is played in the background, and with the colourful features around, a casual, buzzing vibe abounds. The staff are extremely clued-up on the fillings and are happy to help if you’re unfamiliar with how to compile your ideal burrito. For most of the day, you can expect to see City workers grabbing something on their lunch break or intrigued individuals wanting to experience some Poncho No 8 food.
A word of warning: after picking your fillings and watching them be wrapped up, you’ll find that your burrito is pretty large, so it can be a little messy when eating. But that’s just part of the fun. The coriander rice adds little flavour to the burrito as a whole but along with the spicy Mexican beans, helps to bring a bit of texture. The barbacoa beef (£6) is very soft and an ideal filler because it’s really tender,. even if it's not the most flavoursome. The freshly-made guacamole (80p) is beautifully creamy and full of fresh coriander, and matched with the smoked chipotle salsa, is Mexican food heaven. As it’s a wrap, with each bite you can expect to taste different combinations, so you won’t get bored.
If you've got any room for dessert then the home-made rocky road (£1.90) is a little treat you have to indulge in. The squidgy, mini marshmallows and the crunchy biscuit surrounded by chocolate that's dusted with icing sugar is moreish, and your stomach really will try its hardest to make room for it.
The latte (£2.20) is full of rich flavour and has a soft milky finish. Cold, home-made health drinks (£1.85) including hibiscus juice and sweetened rice water are also available, offering visitors plenty of choice for lunchtime diners.
The Last Word
As the newest of a soon-to-be chain, Poncho No 8 is a refreshing change to the sandwich scene, and with so many combinations and delicious fillings, it could easily become a regular haunt for locals.