Fast food gets a bad rap, with many equating “fast” with “junk”. Not so at Chipotle Mexican Grill, a new kind of eaterie, fresh from the States, that promises to give diners “food with integrity”. And that manifests itself in a firm commitment to find the very best ingredients, and use meat that is raised with respect for animals, the environment, and the farmers. It also means sourcing organic local produce when practical. But, of course, none of that don’t mean diddly squat unless the food tastes good, too, and, by golly, it does.
The premise of dining at Chipotle is simple, but quite unfamiliar to many UK diners. You stand in line, then your big burrito adventure begins as your server fills your flour tortilla with your choice of cilantro-lime rice, pinto or vegetarian black beans, meat (braised pork carnitas; barbacoa shredded beef; grilled chicken or steak) then slaps in a little guacamole, salsa – choose from mild, medium, medium hot to a blow-your-head-off hot! – cheese or sour cream. Don't fancy a burrito? Then you can have a burrito bowl (as above, but without the tortilla), a salad or crisp corn or soft tacos.
Under the guidance of the affable Managing Director of Chipotle UK, Jacob, we sampled a mix of them all, along with a couple of warm quesadillas (the Mexican equivalent of cheese on toast), which six-year-old Joe really enjoyed. We also had some fresh tortilla chips, very tastefully presented in a little brown bag, from which Jacob deftly tore off the top and down the sides to make a nifty serving box – perfect for picking out your chips before scooping up a hearty dose of guacamole (though Jacob told us his new supply of avocados wasn’t quite as creamy as he’d hoped. Such are the trials of seasonable sourcing…). Our meal was over within an hour – not exactly McDonald’s-fast, but Chipotle is definitely fast food that makes you want to take your time and savour it.
Chipotle, 114–116 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0JR. Tel: 020 7836 8491
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