Taking up residence at the premises previously owned by Pizza Hut, diagonally opposite the Odeon cinema in Lothian Road, this 100 seat restaurant is extremely handy for office workers, students at lunchtime and ideal for a quick bite to eat before attending a show at one of the nearby theatres or cinemas.
Edinburgh Spotlight paid Illegal Jacks their second visit and were warmly welcomed by the friendly staff who enquired if we had been before. We replied no, so that the menu could be explained to us.
Jack’s has a ‘four step plan’ which consists of choosing a ‘weapon’ of a burrito, taco or quesadilla and then ‘filling it with the good stuff’ – a choice of chicken, beef steak or sauteed vegetables or vegetarian chilli, making sure everyone is catered for. The third and fourth step is adding some black or pinto beans and topping with salsa (mild, hot or roasted).
The seating consists of wooden tables and benches and now includes window seats which are perfect to watch the world go by from. There was a mixture of customers when I was in the restaurant ranging from students and office workers to mums with their babies, making use of the ample room available, quick service and excellent changing facilities.
To begin with I opted for the simple dish of chips and dips at £3.50. The tortilla chips were perfectly crisp and were accompanied by a selection of guacamole, salsa and sour cream.
The guacamole was to die for. Extremely fresh and perfect in texture, as was the salsa which wasn’t too spicy, but did have a kick to it (you can order hotter, or spice it up with hot sauce). This simple combination made for a perfect starter, accompanied by hot drink to warm me up. It didn’t take long for me to demolish the plate whilst humming along to some wonderful background music from Ella Fitzgerald.
For my main, my weapon of choice was a freshly grilled quesadilla with chicken breast at £5.25, which had been marinated, along with the other meat overnight for full flavour. It was served on a bed of rocket and I had some more guacamole on the side (it really was fantastic stuff).
The insides were chock-full of beautiful chicken and black beans, making for a wonderful combination.
I could definitely work my way through Jack’s menu and never get bored. Fajitas, come under ‘Jack’s Specials’ and are the only thing on the whole menu you have to sit in to eat as they come in hot skillets (everything else is available to take away). Other specials include chili bowls, nachos (with the tortilla chips served hot, not just melted cheese on top of cold ones), again with a choice of chicken, beef chili, vegetarian chili or just cheese. Salads and chicken wings finish the specials list and my mouth is watering again thinking of all the fantastic options.
The interior is a little stark, with the exception of definition on the walls of what’s on offer, but it’s all about the food here.
Illegal Jacks do a ‘working lunch’ offer which consists of any burrito and drink for only £5 making it a reasonably priced meal. Burritos are also on offer in the afternoon between 3pm and 5pm when they are two for the price of one, making it a great place for a late lunch or early dinner.
I am happy to see that Illegal Jacks is doing well and holding its own on Lothian Road. It’s definitely a welcome attribute to the area and perfect for when you want good quality food… and fast.
*Updated 27th Jan* You can now phone Jack ahead with your order or book a table for larger parties 0131 622 7499
*Updated 9th March* They now stock Mackie’s ice cream for dessert. Pefect way to finish off a meal.
Opening hours are :
Mon-Thurs: 12.00-21.00 Fri-Sat: 12.00-22.00 Sun: 12.00-21.00
Suitable for disabled ? Yes even ground access with disabled toilets.