Bar hopping: Flying Burrito Brothers
The mall. A simple combination of two words that would make even the most hardened man shiver.
Let's be honest: going to a mall sucks. It's easier to find a wife than a park at the mall come the weekend. Throngs of people constantly walk at you. You will spend money even if you don't want to.
Most of Christchurch's malls have a bar attached somewhere. Flying Burrito Brothers, once, a hectic nightspot anchored in New Regent St was far from suburbia's shopping dungeons, but now it has taken up a residence in the car park bang in the middle of Northlands mall.
For a moment, from my seat in the courtyard under Christchurch's brutal January sun, and surrounded by palm trees, umbrellas and margaritas, I could almost believe I was in Mexico.
Almost. Then I peered out onto a sea of Hondas, Citroens and Mitsubishis parking up for a trip to Countdown.
Seemingly always busy at night (and they don't do evening bookings) Flying Burrito Brothers was surprisingly quiet during our daytime visit. A few families were scattered around the courtyard, sipping colourful drinks.
We had a $20 pitcher of margarita. A meld of mango, coconut and liquor, it was sweet enough to make my mouth wince.
The drinks menu is as refreshing as the drinks themselves.
I consistently enjoy New Zealand beer but it's pleasant, and healthy, to take a break now and again to avoid the relationship losing its fizz.
FBB offers us a prodigious drinks menu, packed full of options we haven't found elsewhere.
There's margaritas by the bucketful (not literally), Mexican beer by the bucketful (literally!), an array of cocktails (rum, vodka and tequila) along with gringo options such as Monteiths, the amazing Rekorderlig Cider, still wines and bubblies.
Embracing diversity, we ordered another margarita, this time a classic strawberry concoction, conjuring up nostalgic memories of sipping (booze-free) slushies as a child.
Onto the food. We had taquitos depollo ($12), small deep-fried tortillas served with a superb chilli and chocolate sauce ($12). A taco al carbon ($14), an almost unnaturally fresh combination of chipotle, chicken, and orange salsa served in a soft wrap. Superb.
And simple chicken quesadillas ($14), tasty but compared to the amazing taquitos, bland.
Was it worth a trip to the mall?
Firstly, while there's a distinct lack of amigos shuffling about in sombreros, Flying Burrito Brothers still somehow feels a little cheesy, a little naff but that seems to be an inescapable facet of the Mexican restaurant business. More importantly, Flying Burrito Brothers was bucketloads of fun.
Everything, the food, the drink, the decor seemed novel. It's a great spot to escape the daily grind.
Flying Burrito Brothers
Northlands Shopping Centre, Main North Rd
When: Mon-Fri 12noon-11pm