Luck, Lust, Liquor and Burn is a new Mexican restaurant in the Northern Quarter. As a sister to Almost Famous and on the site of former cocktail bar Socio Rehab, it has excellent hipster credentials. It was inspired by a road trip from Las Vegas to Mexico ‘in a frenetic haze of food, booze and all the naughtiness the Golden State has to offer’, and they have managed to bring this spirit and inspiration back to rainy Manchester.
The restaurant interior is dark with exposed bricks, gorgeous waiters, and a neon sign that says ‘Jesus loves tacos’ above the bar. You can’t help but love it – the atmosphere is great, and the staff rave about their favourite dishes on the menu.
I wanted to eat everything. In particular, I was eyeing up the burritos, such as the ‘Alabama Bone Suckin’ Slammer’ (£7.50) stuffed with pulled pork and three types of cheese, and the ‘Triple Threat Burger’ (£10), a double cheeseburger topped with bacon and pulled pork. It’s the kind of place where, despite all the food you’ve already put away, you watch dishes being carried past and wish they were headed to your table – although you can probably tell this is not really a place for vegetarians or those on a diet!
My friend chose the ‘Dirty Chicken Street Tacos’ (£6.50) on the advice of our lovely waitress, which arrived on a car number plate. They were absolutely delicious, if a relatively small portion for the price. In contrast, my ‘Jailbreak Beef Chilli’ (£7.50) was an enormous bowl of falling-apart strands of slow-cooked beef brisket, topped with mounds of sour cream, crispy bacon and cheese. I scooped it up with tortilla chips and decided that for food this good I would take the heart attack any day.
Desserts are provided by Home Sweet Home, a café around the corner, and we shared a salted caramel brownie with malted vanilla ice cream (£3.50), which arrived sitting in a lake of caramel sauce. We both agreed it was one of the best brownies we had ever tasted, and I haven’t really been able to stop thinking about it ever since.
While the house wine can described as ‘drinkable’ at best, there is a hugely tempting cocktail list, and I will definitely be back for a ‘Break for the Border’ (£7) made from El Jimador tequila, elderflower, nettle, lime, mint and tonic or the ‘Dirty South Martini’ (£8) of Portabello gin and jalapeno-infused vermouth. There is a lovely bar downstairs with a more limited menu where you could sample these, but I would definitely recommend skipping the queues in the rain for Almost Famous and heading upstairs for dinner – just don’t forget to try that brownie!