If you never try, you’ll never know – Taco Bell
Tucked away amidst a plethora of fast-food joints in the Arndale Shopping Centre, is Mexican-inspired Taco Bell. If you have ever taken a trip down to this hotspot, you’ll know that it has an air of Mexico. By that we mean the food, service and atmosphere are a carbon-copy version of what you’d get in Cancun.
Taco Bell is part of the Yum! Brand. It’s one of various other restaurants like Pizza Hut, KFC and has been in Manchester since “7 November 2011”. That’s Adina speaking; the graceful branch manager, whose warmth radiates the moment she meets us outside and takes us to the kitchen to the minute we leave. Her service, compared to many restaurant managers, was outstanding; she stopped at nothing to bring us comfort.
What better way to delve into what Taco Bell truly is than to be right where the action is. Usually, restaurant kitchen staff are usually frantic when preparing diners’ endless orders during lunch hour. At Taco Bell, the kitchen staff is calm yet busy, focused yet friendly and welcoming.
Since the restaurant’s opening in the city, Adina has been working at the company and has seen it “grow a lot”, she said.
“At the beginning, we didn’t have as many products as we have now. We are still not at the level that the US branch is, but we have grown”, she told us.
Attracting a mixture of diners and foodies, Taco Bell receives waves of students in the week, teenagers and families at the weekend. Its dishes are flavoursome, quick and have a non-pretentious price tag. To show their inclusivity, all their dishes have a vegetarian or vegan alternative – why wouldn’t customers flock to it?
‘Not spicy; it’s flavoursome-spicy’
Serving Mexican-inspired tacos, quesadillas and nachos, the restaurant has proven its consistency in the area with its returning diners. “At the beginning, English people were scared to try our food because they thought all of our products are very spicy. We did a lot of sampling, then they thought ‘actually your food is not spicy; it’s flavoursome-spicy”, Adina explained. Taco Bell veers away from the spicy cuisines which all too often is spicy without letting you taste anything else beyond the spice.
First up were the nachos, and that’s pronounced na-choes for the uninitiated. We had the Supreme – The King of Nachos. These are tortilla chips, nacho cheese sauce, reduced-fat sour cream, guacamole and tomato salsa. The salsa did fox-trot in the mouth – it was sweet and complimented the sour cream and green flavours of the sauces.
Following the nachos was the Quesadilla – ‘melted cheese and a whole lotta love’. This is grilled flour tortilla, three cheese blend and creamy jalapeno sauce. These looked simple but are exquisitely rich in flavour, creamy. The sauce has an adequate degree of heat which gives you the warmth suggested in the dish’s strapline. It tastes as if made with love. Too cheesy? No, just the right amount.
On the menu, above the ‘Seasoned Mexican Fries’ is a bold command: ‘a must try’. On this occasion, we obeyed the command and did try the fries with two dips – Taco Bell’s chipotle sauce and jalapeno sauce. “We have the best fries, I must say. Even McDonalds, KFC and others cannot compete”, Adina gushed gleefully past us. We could not and still cannot argue, they are unmatched in texture, flavour and are irresistible.
Satiating and gratifying
For sweet, we had the ‘Dessert Share Plate’. We had Churros – Mexican crunchy dough swirls with sugar and chocolate dipping sauce. This was next to Chocodilla – grilled flour tortilla with melted chocolate chips. To say that the swirls were moreish is an understatement. The cinnamon-sugar-coating makes them a winner as they are not too sweet and complimented by the warm chocolate wraps.
From 99p all the way up to £19.99, Taco Bell’s menu is for all. It is for that day we call a cheat day but not really a cheat day. This place satiates without leaving you bloated. It gratifies without leaving you guilty. To know what we mean, give it a visit. After all, ‘If you never try, you’ll never know’.
TNT Food Yasin Chinembiri