Quick and fun Tex-Mex meal at Illegal Jack’s South West Grill

If asked to summarise Illegal Jack’s South West Grill, on Edinburgh’s Lothian Road, I’d settle on “Nando’s for tex-mex food”. Illegal Jack’s offer their Mexican food to sit-in or takeaway. In both cases you head to the counter and wait while your meal is prepared. The menu at Illegal Jack’s is simplicity itself - choose your weapon (burrito, quesadilla or tacos), fill it with the “good stuff” (chicken, beef or vegetarian options), add some beans (black or pinto) and top it with mild, hot or roasted salsa. If none of that tickles your tex-mex tastebuds then Illegal Jack’s offers nachos, buffalo wings, fajitas, sald or chilli. What more could you ask for!?

Tacos from Illegal Jack's South West Grill, Edinburgh Interior of Illegal Jack's, Edinburgh

Illegal Jack’s has been trading for nearly 5 months. Its growing reputation accelerated through heavy use of online advertising and social media. For example anyone who recruits 10 Facebook fans to Illegal Jack’s is entered into a draw to win a complementary meal for 10 people. The staff at Illegal Jack’s were helpful and the decor sleek and appealing. The walls describe the dishes available at Illegal Jack’s and their origins; a conversation topic while munching through your tex-mex. Although a quick Google suggests nachos first surfaced in 1943 courtesy of a certain Ignacio Anay, not 1965-70 as the wall at Illegal Jack’s suggests.

The burrito (£5.95) at Illegal Jack’s is huge and absolutely packed full of meat, beans and rice. Clearly the star of the show. Though be sure to read the instructions provided on how to eat a burrito properly to avoid spilling the filling everywhere! The tacos (£5.50) were pleasant, although the chicken could have been warmer. The chopped tomatoes, lettuce, guacamole and salsa all oozed fresh and zesty appeal. Tortilla chips and dips (£3.50) were an enjoyable side order. Soft drinks at £1.50 are fine, but refills should be included without the need for a 50p supplement. It’s worth noting that Illegal Jack’s don’t serve alcohol, so those of you looking for a beer with your tex-mex will be disappointed.

If you’re planning a visit to Illegal Jack’s then check-out their Facebook and Twitter pages for some great offers e.g. 2 for 1 Fajitas on Sunday or 2 for 1 burritos, 3-5pm any day. I love the concept of Illegal Jack’s and the execution is a fine effort. It’s clear “Illegal Jack” wants to build his business into a brand. Based on our visit he has every opportunity.

Illegal Jack’s South West Grill is located at 113 Lothian Road, Edinburgh, EH3 9AN.
Telephone: 0131 622 7499

6 Responses to “Quick and fun Tex-Mex meal at Illegal Jack’s South West Grill”

  1. My husband and I went to Illegal Jack’s craving burritos like we’ve had back at the states (e.g. moe’s, chipotle, and qdoba) and were definitely happy to find the food delicious! The staff was very good and the overall atmosphere was clean and cool. We definitely plan to try out Tex Mex II soon after your last post! Thanks for the helpful reviews.

  2. I have passed by Illegal Jack’s many times, but have never been in, despite being intrigued by their menu. I don’t go in because the set up and atmosphere leaves me cold. All that white space looks sterile instead of hot and spicy like the menu. And the whole going up to the counter thing like I’m still at a university canteen just doesn’t do it for me. If I do try it will have to be a takeaway, because I have no desire to sit in that room.

    Thanks for the info however!

  3. Thank goodness for Illegal Jack’s! I am American and you simply could not find a proper big, fat Mexi/American burrito in Scotland until now. This place has gotten better each visit. The beef burritos are fantastic - with the owners using nice hunks of meat rather than just mince. About the atmosphere, this place isn’t a candlelit dinner kind of place, but rather an approximation of burrito joints in the Staes (as Kristen states above). You ought to give it a shot, Sophia. Even if the dining area was a barn with peanut shells on the floor, I’d go back for the fantastic burritos!

    The only suggestions I’d have would be to 1) add an extra hot salsa and 2) start selling beer (perhaps Sierra Nevada Pale Ale like Tex Mex II?!)

  4. Afternoon! Jack here. Thanks for the good words above, much appreciated. Really glad you like what we’re doing here. Appreciate also the the restaurant is not to everyone’s taste - the is due to firstly the business being self-funded, and also because the philosophy here is a bite to eat. We’re starting to do a good bit more take out Sophia so maybe that’s of interest? Hope so anyway. Heck, will bring it personally to the door for you, just Tweet me in advance! Righty, back to the grill. Best to all - Jack.

  5. Evenin’ Doug. Just seen your comments for the first time, and thanks Squire! The beef’s from a farm in Perthshire, really pleased with my find through a local butcher. There’s serious hot sauce in the kitchen if you want - will make your salsa that way, just ask! As for licensing, can’t afford it, but we do BYOB if anyone asks :) Thanks and best from here - Jack.

  6. After listening to all tbe banter on twitter, I am a broken woman and simply must give this place a try. Have been working at getting a work clan together for a night out. :)

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