London Food & Culture

Ich Bin: Meriel Armitage, burrito specialist

"Granary Square has such a nice vibe, it reminds me of the streetfood outdoor culture I enjoyed so much in Melbourne"

Londoner Meriel Armitage worked in advertising for eight years, before a stint living in Australia. When she returned to a job back in the UK, she realised how much she hated the ads industry – and jacked it all in. Deciding to throw all her efforts into innovative Mexican streetfood, she launched her new venture, Club Mexicana, in Hackney earlier this year. She can also be found weekly at KERB market on Granary Square.

What is your greatest life achievement?
Setting this business up in April. I think we show vegan food in a really interesting way, without making it all about a load of salad or a dairy-free broccoli quiche. But still, it’s a massive risk.

What did you dislike so much about advertising?
People think a career in the industry is going to be really fun and glamorous, and then it isn’t, especially when you have to do a presentation, like I had to, on the personality of a jammy dodger. Seriously! Standing in front of all these people, I just thought: this is terrible. So I quit.

Is that the frown? Photo: SE
Is that the frown? Photo: SE

Where would you like to live?
Brooklyn NY for all the vegan food. It’s amazing.


What is your favourite sound or smell?
Listening to really good techno being played at the infamous Berghain nightclub in Berlin.

What makes you unhappy?
Bad service. Even if everything’s collapsing, you can still smile and be nice to somebody.

What simple thing would improve your quality of life?
A lot more sunshine. The summer here in Granary Square was beautiful though. The water smells of chlorine, but it’s almost like a beach: kids running through the fountain, people sitting on the steps down to the canal, or just lounging on the terrace at Caravan. Such a nice vibe, it reminds me of the streetfood outdoor culture I enjoyed so much in Melbourne.

What is your most unappealing habit?
Frowning all the time.

What’s been your best experience here?
We get to talk to our customers a lot, which is great. And the diversity of people here is the best of all the markets we sell at each week. People are really friendly, even coming back to tell you how their food was – which you don’t get anywhere else.

What did you do today?
I woke up at 6am to get everything out of storage, and to check if my vegetable order was here. It wasn’t, so I had to chase the suppliers, unload the van and set about creating a kitchen from scratch. Now we’ve just served the lunchtime rush and have do the whole thing again in reverse.

Describe yourself as an animal.
An elephant. Very clumsy but quite soft-hearted.

To find out when Meriel is next at Granary Square, follow her @clubmexicana on Twitter

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