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6 April 2016

chipotle, the mexican grill

chipotle are getting a bit of a bad rep at the moment, aren't they? still, whenever the word "burritos" is ever mentioned, my ears prick up. that's the cross i bear. so, when the new baker street branch of the well-known mexican-food franchise opened up recently and i was invited down to take a look, and take a sample, well... who was i to say no? i met carmen there, and together, we dined.

their menu is pretty simple. first you choose how you want your burrito, then what main filling, then your toppings, and then you're done. it's a bit subway-esque like that, but it gets the job done. so, i went for the burrito bowl (i gave up carbs for a few days - it ended with a limited edition roast port and stuffing sandwich meal deal that i definitely do not regret), while carmen went for the crispy taco option. naturally, we also picked up a bag of tortilla chips and guac, that - despite being totally delicious, were always going to be far over-priced for what they are. more on that in a bit.

in my burrito bowl i went for white rice with coriander and lime, barbecoa (pulled bbq steak) filling, mild salsa (red onion, tomatoes and more coriander - i think?), grated cheese, loads of lettuce, and  a dollop of store-made guacamole (of course they also charge extra for the guac. it's the 21st century though, and i'm pretty sure avocados are now no more expensive than red onions, so... whatever.). and together with a can of drink, my total was about £9.50... which was a bit of a surprise, as i hadn't expected it to cost that much, but considering they're "brand name burritos" i was willing to give the benefit of the doubt.

carmen's hard tacos came with most of the same, but no rice weirdly (girl wanted rice), and she chose grilled chicken instead of the red meat. there were three tacos in the serve, and again with the can of drink it came to the same price as mine. i suppose because it's the same amount of food in each type of dish, it may be all the same price? i don't know, i'm basically making this up now. what i do know is that we also ordered the tortilla chips and guac, and that was another £3.50. i guess the majority of that is for the guac, right, because a couple of handfuls of lightly salted tortilla chips surely can't cost that, surely...

for real though, it was very tasty. the barbecoa was well seasoned and cooked, and if anything, there just wasn't enough of it. the meat-to-everything-else ratio was a little lacking, but i filled up easily on the flavoured rice and all the other fillings spilling out of my bowl. and, had i actually chosen a wrapped burrito, i may have even been too-full to finish it. as it was there was a small pile of shredded lettuce and mild salsa left in the bowl when i was done (turns out those tortilla chips did come in handy!).

as for carmen, well, let me quote my main girl here: "if you didn't photograph your tacos, did you ever really eat them?" (they wouldn't let us take photos, but we did it anyway - muhaha!) "the crispy tacos were light and just the right amount of salty to cut through the richness of the cheese and meat. the mild salsa was well seasoned and tangy - i could definitely just eat that by itself." (she did, with tortilla chips) "the chicken was nice and smoky, but why is it never hot? it was barely room temperature, which was a worry. also, why wasn't i offered rice? i love rice. how weird. oh, and the guacamole was extra. obviously. it's a sad state of affairs when you can mark your successes over whether you can afford guacamole or not. no wonder i can't get on the housing ladder" (preach.) she does then go on for about a paragraph on why she doesn't see value in tortilla chips, but i reckon i have successfully covered that already.

i will say this: there are cheaper mexican chains out there. i will also say this: this is the tastiest one i've had in a while, so i can attribute the cost to taste. i will also also say this: wahaca is still bae. fancy taste testing them yourself? find all the london locations here.

*thanks for having us, chipotle*

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