We’re greeted by a gorilla head amidst the bushes next to the counter. The counter is from where the next greeting comes from – a girl with a purple-hair, nose-ringed, tattooed kind of look. The first impressions tell loads about Gorilla Kitchen. Here, you eat with your hands the street food served up with sassy sarcasm and punk individuality.
The girl who greeted us is Lisa, one half of the Gorilla Kitchen duo that brought burritos to Vienna in a big way a while back. This was back in their nomadic days when they’d feed revellers at festivals their beefed-up burritos from their food stand. Since then, the Gorilla’s all grown up and found a home, but by no means does this mean it’s been caged:
“The place is designed to have a festival feeling in a fixed location,” Christoph tells us. Christoph is the other half of the duo, who just happens to be Lisa’s cousin.
He’s wearing a Brooklyn’s cycling cap, leaning back in his chair and is the kind of guy you’d go drinking with. Once again, this place is a reflection of its creators.
The burritos bulge with flavoursome ingredients, and you wonder if the beast will explode at any moment when it proves too much for the simple piece of white tortilla bread. If it did, we’d be eating it up off the floor. Without shame. For this is the kind of place you can wipe your mouth with your sleeve, and burp a tune while knowing you’re amongst company that would appreciate your special talent (ok, perhaps refrain from the beat burping).
The menu is fixed and displayed in all its welcome simplicity above the counter. And while burritos earned the Gorilla folks their name, they’ve expanded to sandwiches that will only consolidate their fame as the place to go for high quality street food. You’ve also got your choice of the burrito bowl, which is like a burrito who’s contents refused to wear the straitjacket – ingredients in a bowl, tortilla bread on the side.
Having worked up a mad hunger while watching the Gorilla Kitchen staff packing ingredients snug and tight into a burrito flat bread, we make a mess of their signature classic where Mexico meets the Irish – the Guinness Rindfleisch (beef) Burrito, filled with beans, rice and corned beef in a Guinness gravy. If you like to spice things up like us, order the classic version, which comes with jalapenos and coriander.
Meanwhile, the Pulled Pork Sandwich is a perfect example of how the humble invention of the sandwich can be raised to new heights. The Pulled Pork Burrito has proven a favourite amongst Gorilla goers, and we understand why. It rocks the smokey and sweet carmelised complex flavours that any pulled pork should. And the unique use of Bosnian flat bread (sourced from a local Bosnian bakery) stands up to the task of containing the soggy filling.
We’re told all of the ingredients are sourced regionally from small organic hobby farmers. And the regionally-sourcing focus extends to the drinks fridge, where amongst the regular hipster appearances, like Fritz Cola, you’ll spot local microbrews, like the boldly branded apple cider, AUTcider, or the unique local craft beer selection.
The black tiles, cone-shaped lights, and the nothing-fancy stripped back interior makes the setting of a cleanly shaven and scrubbed takeaway place. Meanwhile, the hip hop playlist playing overhead, and the way the place can open itself up when the sun’s out, creates good-time vibes.
Meanwhile, bouncing with your burrito or sandwich is also an option. And with the quick, friendly service, opting to takeaway won’t hold you if you’re running short on time.