It’s a while since I last updated the blog, but not because burritos have lost their meaty shine. With their tender rice, gently caressing chicken and whispery wrappings, they will always be close to my heart. But after losing my own meaty shine, I started eating things like salad and brown rice. I KNOW.
But clearly, all is not lost. Because when a new burrito joint opened mere footsteps from the office where I weave my magic by writing about puffy labia and periods, I felt a familiar urge overtaking me. I wanted to feel like a woman again. A woman who eats burritos so fast she spends the afternoon trying not to burp. (Because I’m not just a woman – I’m a LADY, too).
Wrapchic doesn’t conform to the rules of the blog (or the rules of choosing a name for your business which doesn’t sound like the manager’s mum made it up, either). The rules specify that I have to have the same thing every time I review a burrito joint (a woman, a lady and a PROFESSIONAL). But I made up the rules, so whatever.
Instead of offering classic burritos – a choice of pork, chicken or beef, two types of bean, three levels of heat – Wrapchic specialises in Indian-style burritos. Fillings include mutton (Madrasi or Panjabi style), chicken (Mughlai, Chettinad or Rajasthani style), and fish Malabari, and sauces tend towards the exotic – think pineapple and mango chutney rather than hot, hotter and hottest.
But when I saw the queues snaking out of its new branch on Beak Street, I wanted to BE that snake. Like this. The day I ventured out of my office to Wrapchic’s tiny premises, I was being incredibly brave. It was the day of the Great Storm of ’13 (remember? Ahh, those were the days).
On my way to work I’d encountered a bus wearing a tree, as if it were heading for Shoreditch and had purchased an appropriately out-there hat, and a branch obstructing my path. The under- AND over-grounds were out of action (what would the Wombles have to say about THAT?), and I’d had to be really very intrepid to get to work at all, like a sexy Moses.
I decided I deserved a reward. A reward wrapped in silver foil and smelling of curry.
Heading to Wrapchic early to beat the queues, I didn’t have to wait long to reach the counter, although getting a seat wasn’t an option. Boasting five stools, two of which are uselessly propped against a windowsill a lot lower than the seats, Wrapchic could quickly lower overheads by being a burrito van rather than an actual shop.
Luckily, Golden Square and its wealth of benches is just around the corner, as is my lovely cosy office, so you can still sit and eat, whether you’re me or otherwise.
I chose the chicken Mughlai option (“Tikka style chicken served with tikka sauce”) because beneath my wildly exotic exterior, I’m ever so slightly boring. The disconcertingly friendly server told me this was their most popular option. Brits, eh?
Unlike traditional (or “trad”) burrito joints, Wrapchic offers just one type of rice (plain white) and one type of bean (kidney). But there are a wealth of other options to delight the connoisseur – two salads, around six sauces, and plenty of sides. You can also add extras like cheese and sour cream for an extra 75p on top of a base rate of £4.95, which is both expensive and probably a bit unnecessary.
So, the burrito: I worried that the odd combination of Indian and Mexican might be a bit weird, but I needn’t have. The chicken was very tasty, well cooked and plentiful, the different sauces blended well together (the staff will guide you if you get scared and confused) while the rice – not flavoured with tomato or coriander as it usually is – added texture rather than flavour, which was fine when everything else packed such a punch.
Some people have found that the burristas wrap the burrito the wrong way, meaning they get gobfuls of rice then beans then meat – a heinous crime against the Burrito God indeed (who is the God of Burritos, anyway? Burrus?). But this isn’t something I experienced on my visit, so I didn’t have to have a stern word.
My main criticism was that there’s so much liquid, no burrito wrap could possibly be man enough (or woman enough – a woman, a lady, a professional and a FEMINIST) to handle the job. As well as the watery beans, my wrap had to contend with tikka sauce, tomato salsa and two types of chutney.
Until they make burrito wraps which resemble that kitchen towel that doesn’t rip even when you really want to tear a bit off just to blow your nose or something, the fate of every Wrapchic wrap is to start off all delicious, and end its life as a sad, dribbly pile of rice and meat and broken-up bits of wrap all covered in red sauce, swimming in a puddle of foil.
At one point, my boss poked her head over my desk to ask me something. As I looked up – mouth and hands smeared with red gloop, much of which was making its way hastily towards the cuffs of my cardigan – she looked slightly horrified and said she’d come back later.
I smiled, which in retrospect was probably a bad idea. I must have looked like a lioness polishing off a wildebeest carcass.
Overall, Wrapchic was a positive experience. Much like the Great Storm, it was Mexican-inspired, slightly overhyped, messy and wet – but I’ll definitely be going back for more.
Mood before: Wet and windy
Mood after: Wetter, windier, fuller
Ratings: Food: 7/10, Ambience: 4/10, Staff: 5/10, Value: 7/10
Where: Birmingham, Leicester, Coventry, Derby and London
Closest tube: Oxford Circus
Recommended?: Yes. And things can only get better.