La Escotilla Taco & Tequila Bar: New Mexican street food restaurant is just what Burnley has been missing
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The past year has been a whirlwind for the couple behind La Escotilla Taco & Tequila Bar in St James' Street since embarking on their culinary careers.
Their town centre venue began life as The Hatch Grill and Waffle House in Yorkshire Street, a street food takeaway that quickly became a foodie favourite with its exciting menu of tacos, panchos, ice cream, and Hangover Boxes.
Developing an enviable online following, it caught the attention of TikTok chef Dad the Dish, who visited The Hatch to create a special Taki Birria Tacos Munchy Box.
A taste test hooked me in, and as soon as I heard Rachel Boys and Jonni Thomas were opening their first restaurant in the former Hideaway Bar & Kitchen, I could not wait to book in.
And I have to say: it is worth the hype.
My partner, son, and I popped over on a Thursday night, and by 6pm, this rustic restaurant was already bustling, with a feel-good vibe transporting us to a city like Manchester.
The food was as mouth-watering as I remembered. I indulged in a trio of tacos packed with halloumi and charred street corn, smothered in salsa and cheese, and topped with chopped onions and coriander - comfort food at its finest but with a Mexican twist. The beauty of this dish is that diners can customise the fillings, toppings, sauce, heat, and even the softness of the tortilla to create the ultimate taco.
My partner went for pulled beef with coriander and jalapenos with chipotle sauce, calling it "delicious".
Both came with Mexican dipping broth and a beautifully presented salad, while we added sides of skinny fries and halloumi wedges.
The restaurant also serves up loaded fries or nachos for anyone who wants something filling but which they can pick at. The Taki Taquitos with red pepper chicken, pulled beef, chili, or Mexican beans offer an alternative to the traditional taco, while the Birria Noodles with La Escotilla's signature broth and a choice of protein provide something different. There are also several sharing platters on the menu.
Portion sizes were generous, so we were too full for dessert, though it was tempting. The bubble waffle tacos, particularly with the salted caramel and Biscoff spread and crumble, sounded moreish. As did the churros, served hot with gooey chocolate or Biscoff sauce. Ice cream fans will also love the sundae options.
And for those who prefer their desserts in liquid form, I can't forget to mention that the restaurant's second speciality is tequila.
Speaking of alcohol, this vibrant venue knows how to bring the fun, and I could easily see myself enjoying drinks here after work or to kick off a night on the town. You only need to look at La Escotilla's Facebook page to see its social calendar is already jam-packed with special events.
When we stepped back outside after our meal, we saw St James' Street - adorned with brightly coloured flowers and the glow of fairy lights in the trees - with new eyes. For a moment, we felt like we were on holiday. And that's the best thing La Escotilla brings to our town: the feeling that we are an up-and-coming destination, the place to be.