The Hangover Burrito.
The Marwood has been in my bad books for a while. When I first moved to Brighton three years ago I was enamoured with the idea of a whole coffee-shop based on one of my favourite films (Withnail & I), with a huge picture of Richard E Grant greeting you as you walked in and a note from Uncle Monty in the toilet telling you “you look fab today!” Today, although I look fab, I’ve realised with some sadness that it’s basically the Hard Rock Cafe for hipsters – a big in-joke, where the style is just stylish enough to make you forget about the lack of substance.
Or, indeed, the lack of coffee – £2.25 is enough to buy you a decent cappuccino anywhere except the Marwood. The coffee that you’re given is marvellous – the problem is, you only get about a teaspoon full, because their tiny trendy mugs are so tiny and trendy. The Marwood and I have had the kind of relationship where all your conversations are in film quotes – it’s cute at first, but dear god, you want to punch them after the fourteenth “WHY COULDN’T YOU PUT THE BUNNY BACK IN THE BOX?” (Con Air).
Plus, they didn’t even take my CV when I went in there to apply for a job. These grapes sure are sour
Anyway. For years the only food they offered was cake (which is apparently life-changing, but I don’t like cake, so it’s unlikely it would ever have changed my life for the better) and molten-hot baked bean and cheese toasties (which were amazing, even if the top of your mouth did feel like you’d attempted self-administered dentistry with a soldering iron). So imagine my slight surprise when Emy informed me that she’d seen a HANGOVER BURRITO ON THE MARWOOD MENU.
The now deceased Breakfast Burrito at the Bubble Cafe is the breakfast by which I judge all other breakfasts. It was just the most wonderful experience I’ve ever had on a regular basis before 12pm. Intrigued by the possibility of a similarly Mexican-inspired breakfast, I headed down to the Marwood to see what the fuss was all about.
The Hangover Burrito is £6.95. It consists of sausage, scrambled egg, bacons, mushrooms and beans inside a tortilla with salsa and salad on the side and grilled cheese on top. With a cappuccino as well, my whole breakfast was just under a tenner – not ideal, but certainly not a bad deal. A dreadlocked waiter wearing a vest and smelling of armpit brought it over. It was stodgy and heavy and, had I had a hangover, it would have certainly done the job. As it is, it was a bit bland – the sausage, beans, egg and bacon were so tightly compacted inside the tortilla they’d formed a kind of breakfast-sludge-tube – and although there was plenty of everything, there was no dynamic in the tastes. It was all slightly smokey, with a creamy but somewhat lacking texture. The sausage, which was sliced up into little meaty coins, reminded me of the mini sausages you get in tins of special spaghetti hoops, while there was nothing to be said of the bacon – you couldn’t tell what you were eating. It was more like eating a rolled-up smoked quesadilla than anything else. The tortilla was slightly sweet and very thick, like an old pancake, and the salsa was essentially a handful of diced tomato. I was disappointed, because never before have I eaten a burrito – breakfast or not – where I’ve had to add Tabasco for flavour as well as kick. Then again, my standards are extremely high.
But credit where it’s due. It fills you up, and although there is very little variety in terms of taste or texture, the taste and texture you doget is satisfying and rich. A burrito it ain’t, though – if it were my recipe, I would replace the beans with refried beans, throw in a slop of guacamole and grated cheddar rather than grilled (I’m not a fan of grilled cheese anyway), and sprinkle some fresh chilli on the top. I love all the flavours and textures of an amazing fry-up, which is why I’m hunting to
find the best one. That said, it just ain’t right to call something a burrito if it doesn’t taste remotely Mexican. IT IS CULTURAL REAPPROPRIATION YEAH?
The Marwood has only recently opened its kitchen to anything other than toasties, so perhaps these are wobbly first steps. More spice, more ingredients, and more texture will surely find their way into the Hangover Burrito with time. And as the menu says, most of the products are sourced locally and guilt-free (I know avocadoes, chillis and beans are not traditionally grown in Brighton) and “prepared by a complete moron working for a complete idiot.” Their words, not mine!
As Michael Fassbender says in Prometheus: “Big things have small beginnings.” He was definitely talking about the Hangover Burrito.
I AWARD THIS BREAKFAST: SIX SAUSAGES OUT OF TEN.