The Great Gatsby

March 29, 2014 at 7:13 pm | Posted in Restaurants | 2 Comments
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Last year, the Great Gatsby announced the launch of Shy Boy Catina; their new, distinctly Mexican-inspired menu. I’ve been meaning to give Shy Boy Catina at the Great Gatsby a go for a while now. Actually, I’ve been meaning to give it a go ever since I first heard that the Division Street pub had gone all Mexican on us, but despite being on my ‘To Do’ list for a while now, I wound up at the Gatsby last week completely by accident. I’d wandered into town hell-bent on trying a new sushi restaurant I’d heard good things about, only to discover that the place is closed on a Monday – and guess which day of the week I was stood outside, in the drizzle, trying the door handle and wondering why all the lights were off?

With no sushi in sight, the only sensible course of action was to head to the nearest pub and drink until our sushi-deprived party agreed on a Plan B. We eventually decided  that a burrito was a good substitute for sushi (obviously…), and so off to the Great Gatsby we went.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of visiting the Great Gatsby, it’s a welcoming snug of place, that’s not too dissimilar to the Wick at Both Ends. It’s the kind of cosy spot where you can imagine whiling away an afternoon, sipping mulled wine (even in March) and watching the world go by. The Great Gatsby has a fantastic vibe too; it’s funky without being in the least bit stuffy or pretentious.

When it comes to food, the Shy Boy Catina is a festival of Mexican grub, covering burritos, quesadillas, tacos, and spicy sandwiches. There’s also some intriguing side dishes (avocado fries, anyone?) and a very authentic-sounding dessert of chocolate churros. If you’re partial to Mexican food, then prepare to be spoilt for choice.

After much deliberating, we both opted for a burrito; one Slow Braised Beef Rib burrito, and one Veggie Chilli burrito (£7 each). Our meat, and non-meat burritos were presented in exactly the same fashion, and came with an identical side order of tortilla chips and dips. First impressions were good, as the bundled-up burritos were big, fat torpedos, and when I picked mine up to unwrap it, I could feel the weight of all that rice and veg chilli.

Great Gatsby veggie burrito

Both burritos were accompanied by a handful of crunchy tortilla chips, which had clearly been cooked on the premises, as oppose to being pre-packaged. This little pile of tortilla chips was finished off with a dollop of sour cream, and a sprinkling of finely-chopped tomatoes, red onion, and coriander. It’s always nice to see somewhere going the extra mile, rather than just grabbing a handful of crisps from a packet, plonking them on your plate, and calling that a side dish. The cooling mix of fresh veggies and sour cream also provided a much-needed break from those delicious, but heavy-going, burritos.

Of course, no tortilla chips are complete without dips, and our chips came with a duo of dips. The first, was a guacamole that was freshly-made, if the chunks of un-mashed avocado were anything to go by. I usually hate the texture of guacamole but I still couldn’t resist the Great Gatsby’s take on this dip. The second dip was a bit of a mystery, although there was definitely some coriander mixed in there. The dip had a sour note and a slow, spicy afterburn that I wasn’t overly keen on, so I stuck with the homemade guacamole, which was far tastier.

Speaking of burritos, it was time to peel back the wrapping and unleash the beast! There’s nothing delicate about the Great Gatsby’s veggie burrito; so even if you forgo the meat, prepare to be stuffed silly! My veggie burrito was chock-full of spicy rice, beans, and a smattering of veggies including courgette, roasted peppers, and tangy red onion. This stomach-swelling filling was perfectly cooked, with not a mushy grain of rice or burnt bean in sight.

Just to make absolutely sure you’re not going to be hungry anytime soon, the Great Gatsby lace their burrito filling with a strong, smoky cheese. I’m not sure what type of cheese they use, but I know that my life would be vastly improved if I had a block of the stuff in my fridge!

My veggie burrito had a satisfying heat to it, but if you like your food on the spicy side, then the Great Gatsby provide a barrel full of fiery condiments. If you’re a chilli freak (like yours truly) I recommend splashing some chipotle sauce onto that burrito. You won’t regret it.

Thanks to the sushi fiasco and the mid-day drinking, I was starving by the time I sat down for lunch, but even in that state I couldn’t clear my plate. If you’ve got a raging hunger, then treat yourself to a big, fat, juicy Gatsby burrito. It’s guaranteed to fill you up!

The braised beef burrito was an equally belly-filling affair.

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My dining companion had been a bit unsure what to expect from a “beef rib” burrito, but was relieved to see there wasn’t a bone in sight. The beef had been slow-cooked (for 8 hours apparently) in chipotle and coriander marinade, until it melted off the bone – and was then stuffed into a burrito. The chipotle marinade gave the tender meat a deep, rich heat, although it was difficult to make out the coriander.

In addition to juicy meat, the Great Gatsby managed to squeeze in some rice, cheese, diced tomatoes and raw red onion. The veggies were a very welcome addition, as without these bursts of freshness, the burrito might have been too heavy going to be properly enjoyable. Instead, the beef burrito felt like the perfect lunchtime blow-out.

Here, I have to make a confession. In a moment of madness (I blame those pre-lunch drinks), I’d ordered a side dish to go alongside my two tonne burrito: a portion of Corn & Black Bean Bombers (£3.50). These “bombers” are scotch egg-sized balls of sweetcorn and chunky bean mix, held together by an unexpectedly chewy batter, and served with a spicy mayo dip.

Great Gatsby black bean bombers

The chewy exterior was a bit of a surprise, but once I’d gotten over the unusual texture, the bombers are a mourish side dish that tastes even better dunked into the accompanying dip. My only regret is that I was too stuffed from my super-sized burrito, and had to enlist some help polishing off my bombers.

 Great Gatsby black bean bomber

In addition to stomach-stretching grub, the Great Gatsby do some funky cocktails. If you’re like me (i.e a sucker for a drink in a weird container), then get yourself down to the Gatsby and choose from a cocktail that’s served in a tin can, a jam jar, a paint tin, and even a treasure chest! Mexican food and treasure chests filled with booze? You’ve got to admire the Great Gatsby’s randomness.

Even before I sampled some of what Shy Boy Catina has to offer, I loved the Great Gatsby. After sampling the food, I love it even more! This Devonshire Street pub may not be the first thing that pops into your head when you get a hankering for Mexican street food, but they serve up big slabs of spiced stodge that’s the perfect hangover food, the perfect post-drinking food, and the perfect Plan B when the sushi restaurant around the corner is closed.

My advice? Go hungry. Go very, very hungry. And if you’re tempted by a side dish, be prepared to share – because you will be stuffed by the time you finish your main meal.

5-stars

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2 Comments »

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  1. […] rice, onions, peppers, or any of that other good stuff you usually find in burritos (or maybe the Great Gatsby has spoiled us, when it comes to […]

  2. […] fritters reminded me of the black bean bombers that cropped up on a previous incarnation of the Gatsby’s menu, and they’re every bit as […]


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