Monday, 10 May 2010
CHIPOTLE @ CHARING CROSS ROAD, LONDON
CHIPOTLE DAY! Arriving with very little fanfare, except for a smug web post I found, Chipotle opened its first London restaurant today. Obviously I couldn't miss out on something as important as this. Every review of London Burrito places always has some American ex-pat whining that nothing is as good as Chipotle. LET'S SEE 'BOUT THAT HUH?
I guess there are enough Burrito freaks and obsessive American tourists in town because the queue was massive. Forty minutes later I had got to the front, pretty sick from the awful pop-reggae that was being churned out. Service was great, chirpy and fairly fast. The serving size looked a little stingy but I was happy to put my trust in the good ship Chipotle. Urgh. Price was sad. £6.95 for a steak Burrito and if I've got it right, £1.40 extra for Guac. It was free today, but that takes the price up to £8.35 for a steak Burrito with Guac which is CRAZY TOWN.
FOIL OFF. The hot salsa was the first hit. Decent enough burn and an earthy, smoky flavour. Great Job. I then got some steak. The first piece was alright, fairly tender, but the next piece was gristle. No good. For all the protestations that their meat is the best, most free-range, cared for and hugged dead stuff in the whole world, this wasn't a good sign. All the steak after this was really chewy and I even got another piece of gristle. The marinate on the steak tasted pretty good but it was cooked really badly.
The coriander/lime rice was tasty and perfectly cooked. Black beans also perfecto and the portion size of each was spot on. Unfortunately the rest of the extras got swamped, I think mainly by the amount of salsa or there just weren't enough of them. I only got one hit of the cheese halfway through, which admittedly was really decent and sharp tasting and the Guac was also pretty sparse (but ace), although this was partly down to it being spooned into the burrito badly.
So, overall, not a great Burrito. The meat was really poor, the serving size seemed stingy and it's more expensive than other Burrito places in London. The restaurant is a decent size and we found somewhere to sit despite the queue, which is good, but the Burrito making part needs improving. One last fail is the choice of Tabasco as a table sauce. They do have three varieties, but they're all as crap as each other.
- meat flavoured well
- tasty rice
- hot, smoky salsa
- steak cooked badly
- too small
- too expensive
- extras didn't mix well
114-116 Charing Cross Road, London, WC2H 0JR
PHOTOS FRM: http://twitter.com/whybray