Monday, 4 March 2013

Street Food Chef - Sheffield

If you're an avid reader of this blog, or if you follow my Twitter feed, you'll know one thing (well, apart from that I'm a greedy guts), that I bloody love burritos.

Manchester has five places where I can satisfy my infatuation; Pancho's, traditionally excellent; Margo and Rita's, from a van and pretty ace; Luck, Lust, Liqour and Burn, tiny well-thought mouthfuls; Barburrito, fast food but at least it's fresh and (last AND least) Taco Bell, shit and full of horse meat.

However, I've been hearing for some time that there was a contender to Pancho's title of best burrito in the North and it's not over here in the West - in a first for the blog, I bravely ventured over them there Penines, into the badlands of The East; all because I love you readers so much I'd risk my life on the frontline of food for you.

So who is this worthy contender and in which wilds can you find them? Named Street Food Chef, they're found in Sheffield; it's owned by Richard and Abi, who are passionate about food and ensure they use local suppliers, fresh ingredients and make everything from scratch in front of the customer. You can certainly taste the care and quality in the food they produce.

I hunted out the Arundel Street Canteen (they also have a burrito bar on Pinstone Street and a stall for markets too), the largest of their premises and slap bang next to Sheffield Hallam University in the centre of town. All I can say is those lucky, lucky students having this place right on their doorstep.

At Street Food Chef you order from the main counter, all the food choices are hanging above it - burritos, tacos, enchiladas, empanadas, nachos as standard. Then each dish has a choice of filling (brisket, slow cooked pork, chicken, veg or chicken mole) and on top of that there's sides and then choices of their homemade salsas with varying heat levels. For an indecisive greedy guts like me, it was hard work choosing when so many variants were on offer and all smelled so damn good - but the staff were patient and didn't mind me changing my mind a lot and my unending stream of personal dialogue - they didn't even send for a shrink/my parents.

I have a confession to make - I liked Street Food Chef and their wonderful fillings so much, I ate here on two consecutive days. The second day I even got there early for a breakfast burrito before I had to head back to civilisation, ahem, Manchester. Oh and I also shared all my food with my companion (or read, shared all my companion's food), so I could fully experience everything Street Food Chef had to offer. Don't judge me. This was research. For you.

Out of everything, I'd opt for the chicken mole burrito any day - don't let anyone ever talk you out of the mole; even if when you ask the staff, they say it has chocolate in it and you think this is weird. It's not weird; it's the most beautiful, smokey, intense, deeply flavoured and tender mouthfuls of wonderment that you will ever eat. And I'm not even exaggerating or nothing. The brisket and the slow cooked pork are pretty bob on too.

I'm in a quandary now - I love Pancho's, I undertake pilgrimages there whenever I can, I love the pork in adobo more than pancakes or life itself, but, and it's a big but - is Street Food Chef better? Having eaten extensively at both, having researched to the nth degree (research, not greed, remember...) I can only say... it's too close to call. Both are exceptional and I can say that I can unequivocally not choose between the two. Please don't make me.

Ps I know you all want to know - I pussied out and couldn't face the Hot Hot Hot salsa, I enjoyed tasting my food and the medium salsa picante instead.

Pps Drink some of the lime green Mexican soft drink they sell there - it's so tasty, probably not very good for you on account of the colour, but it's amazing!

Ppps I think they're missing a trick not calling it Street Food Shef... (hur hur, I'm so funny)

Price for a burrito is about £6 - I got over-excited and forgot to make a note of prices when I was there. On both times. It's a giddy-making type of food.

Food - 9/10
Service - 8/10
Atmosphere - 7/10
Value for money - 9/10

Total - 33/40

Go again - Yes! Just need an excuse to head over the Penines again now....

The Street Food Chef, 90 Arundel Street, Sheffield S1 4RE - Facebook - Twitter