Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Cafe Burrito Review

Here is my latest burrito review this time from small London based chain Burrito Cafe. They currently have two restaurants one in Kings Cross and one in Charing Cross and I have visited both a couple of times now. 

I love burritos and have been wanting to do some kind of review/rating system of the various different chains. By the way I am more of a 'man v food' type of guy rather than getting all fancy and gourmet.

My visit this time was to the Charing Cross branch and it has had a colourful makeover since I was here last with vibrant Mexican colours of reds, blues, greens and yellows. 

But onto the serious business of the burrito, having been to burrito cafe a few times before I was keen to tuck into another one of their burritos as they have previously provided a satisying filling meal.

My experience was almost ruined as it got off to a terrible start as I accidentally took some of their hot salsa while helping myself to their complimentary nachos while waiting to be served. Thankfully I always carry a bottle of water with me and I was able to cool my mouth down soon enough but the salsa was so hot I was shocked with how sensitive my mouth is and how I need to be more cautious with hot spices! Anyway crisis averted I was doubly keen to munch my way through the tastiest burrito they had to offer.

The beauty of their Charing Cross location is that its a perfect stop for some food after a night out in the West End. I have employed this tactic a couple of time when heading back from being out in Leicester Square or after drinking in the Harp, (which is a fine drinking establishment by the way providing some great ciders) a few doors down the street. 

Soon enough I started picking out my ingredients and on this occasion my burrito fillings were:

Tomato rice
Re-fried beans
Pulled Pork
Medium salsa

Cafe burrito do quite well in offering options and additional items to the standard burrito ingredients because as well as the usual burrito staples they also offer courgettes alongside the standard peppers, sweetcorn with the usual salad and what looked like chillis if you are searching for that extra kick. 

An excellent added ingredient to a cafe burrito meal is the refreshing addition of a Sol beer. Sol is my favourite of the light Mexican style lagers such as Corona and Desperado and is the ultimate in summer refreshment when served nice and cold with a wedge of lime. If I wasn't such a big fan of Sol I wouldn't have been short of drink options as I was pretty impressed with the great drinks selection on offer, a wide selection of beers even a cider and some good looking soft drinks were also available. 

So to review the burrito; 

Tortilla wrap: plain, artificial and quite stodgy with quite a thick and gloopy texture with no real taste.
Rice: I went for tomato rice but they also had lime and coriander as an option, can't say I really noticed it in the burrito and didn't get any flavour from it. The rice seemed to be quite stodgy, balnd and over cooked in comparison to other places where it feels fresh and fluffy.
Pulled Pork: Nice, meaty and chewy but quite finely pulled so there wasn't a nice thick meaty chewiness to it. It also didn't have the feel of being fresh and cooked on the premises rather pre packaged and shipped in chilled or frozen to be warmed up for serving. 
Salsa: A pleasant light green dark salsa although perhaps a bit watery, it did mix in quite well with the guacamole to provide a soothing, cooling element to the burrito.  
Peppers: good, crunchy and pretty sweet.
Courgettes: Excellent, a real plus point for Burrito Cafe to provide this as an option as they add another element especially when they were really crisp and tasty like in my burrito. Being long and hard they provide a 'backbone' if you like the structure and a much needed bite to an either wise soft burrito.  
Refried beans: really good re-fried beans, they also had the option of black bean so it is good to have both options available but the re-fried beans I always go for and these were pretty good all nice and gloopy adding a good sayisfying consistency to the burrito experience. 
Guacamole: Not the same guacamole I have had here before I don't think? This was an attempt at fancy guacamole as it appeared to be of a more thinned down consistency but with larger lumps of avocado present along with red onion and chilli I think. Overall it wasn't very strong tasting but was cooling and pleasant. 

Overall: OK, not a lot of flavour and certainly no kick ass explosion of strong flavours as provided by Daddy Donkey and a real lack of an authentic Mexican taste. 

Burrito Cafe experience: Fine, pretty decent service, a pleasant place to sit and chill while you eat your food and drink your beer. The refurbished premises were clean and fresh but had a touristy feel to them rather than a serious establishment like Tortilla or Chipotle. The bright colours almost made the place feel garish but at the same time I am sure this appeals and attracts passing trade. 

The big plus points for Burrito Cafe are that they pack a mean burrito in terms of the large amount of fillings they manage to cram in and the fact the burrito is well made and holds together very securely. The addition of a sol to a burrito also instantly raises its rating so I must try not to let that cloud my judgement of the actual burrito. 

My overall experience would have to be a 5/10 as the burrito didn't blow me away with an explosion of taste but at the same time there was nothing it just didn't live up to anywhere near the high levels of other burritos.

As already mentioned it has real redeeming features such as the courgettes and the quantity of fillings they pack into a fully loaded burrito.

Next month I plan to try the nee barburrito in High Holborn.