Cheap eat Monday this week, which is a thing I’ve just made up, is courtesy of Gabbots, in the Arndale centre. Although it says it has a new name, the plastic bag (no charge) it came in says Gabbots, so Gabbots it is.
Situated near, but not in, the Arndale Food Markets (more on those another day) its a handy place to get away from the hipsters of the Northern Quarter and just chow down on some straight up food. Theres all the meats, and at least 2 types of chips available from their hot food counter, and you don’t need to worry about if your food comes on a plate, as its all takeaway in plastic containers. Theres probably some bull in there as well, but refreshingly, no bullshit.
The first thing your going to notice about Gabbots, it is almost impossible to tell what they serve, as the heaving mass of meat eaters obscures the front of house. Peak a look through the crowd, and you’ll spot what you want. You’ve got all your basic meats, sausages, burgers, chilli con-carne. If your feeling in a healthy mood, you’ve got your chicken option as well. Its not one for the vegetarians.
I make a compromise and go for the ‘Zinger’ burger, any resemblance to any other chicken live or dead is un-intentional. I pair it with curly fries, which may also be referred to as salt and pepper fries, a bit like the Chinese salt and pepper seasoning, but not quite as nice.
You’ve got to know what you want by the time you enter the queue, it always looks long, but they don’t mess around at Gabbots. I imagine its close to the atmosphere on the trading floor at Wall Street. Before you know it your asked if you are being served, and you don’t want to still be deciding if you want some chicken wings on the side. You need to be decisive. Do you want butter? No. Salad? All of it (I’ll pick the cucumber off later). Stick me some mayo on the burger, and ketchup on the chips. Grab a can of your chosen fizzy drink, diet for me, got to watch the calories. £3.80 all in. You grab the bag and a plastic fork and your off.
Now your thinking, I don’t want to go back to the office, I’ll probably get asked questions, its really difficult to seem like you care when you’ve got a Zinger burger and fries to think about. This is where the second part of the trading floor is. Head to the Food Market, dodge pass the crowds and try and find somewhere to perch, or if your lucky sit. If you play your cards right, you’ll negotiate your self the prime real estate of a window seat. Its not quite the Hollywood Hills, but it gives you something to keep your mind of what bullshit you will entail on the return to work.
I end up with a chair, but only a view of Panchos, which makes me wonder if I should have pushed the boat out and stumped up £6 for their hefty burritos. But I’m content with my faux KFC and curly fries. It might not be Michelin star, but you know exactly where you stand with a Gabbots, and you’ve got change from a fiver. You might get a half with that later in the week.
Overall: Three hundred and eighty pence out of five english pounds.