Chipotle (UK)

After the terrible disappointment of Benito’s Hat, I was missing the juicy tang of a New York Chipotle burrito even more than before. So I decided to head to the only branch of Chipotle in the UK, which is on Charing Cross Road.

It’s only a short walk from Soho, but I didn’t trip there happily, my little heart bursting with excitement, as you might imagine. Despite it being recommended by @DeenaTracey, @AnnaRoll and @Sarcastathon, I had heard dark rumours that Chipotle had come to London, seen that some pubs can get away with selling lager at £4.50 a pint, then rubbed its hands with glee and ramped up the prices. If this was true, I would cry bitter, sour cream tears.

I also hit a slight obstacle to the whole ‘tripping’ thing when I gave £2 to a Big Issue-selling cat, then arrived at Chipotle to be faced with laminated signs telling me their card machines were broken. Laminated meant they weren’t just a bit broken, they were really broken. And I was now precisely £2 short in cash to pay for a burrito. You couldn’t make it up.

A cat selling the big issue. Pic by @Broke2amillion

I had to retrace my steps, shaking my fist at the stupid, smug Big Issue-selling cat along the way, to get some more cash out. Once I finally made it into the cavernous interior of Chipotle I was pleased to find it was identical to the one I went to in New York – brown-hued, with walls covered in chirpy messages about how happy the animals were on Chipotle’s chosen farms before they got wrapped in a tortilla.

Unfortunately, the burritos weren‘t quite so familar. I chose the usual: chicken (‘Higher Welfare, marinated in our chipotle adobe, then grilled’) with black beans, medium salsa, cheese, sour cream and lettuce. I added lettuce because compared to their US brosephs, these burritos lacked heft. Although they did still come in a pretty red plastic basket.

With a bottle of water, the bill came to £8, which made me tut theatrically, as if to say, ‘I know your game. I HAVE BEEN TO NEW YORK.’ There, a burrito a third bigger, with a diet cola, was around $8.85 – under £5.50. Even allowing for the fact that you have to sell your mother just to get on a bus and stand in a puddle of sick for ten minutes in London, that’s quite a hike.

If it hadn’t been so pricey this wouldn’t have been a terrible burrito – it was a bit heavy on the sour cream, which dominated the other flavours, but the chicken was quite good, and they do provide mild jalapeno sauce on the tables, which I like. It was all just a bit too tangy, rather than spicy for me, and when compared to a far superior burrito it should taste the same as and be a similar price to, it was lacking.

A slightly dull burrito, yesterday

The actual restaurant is pretty soulless, even if it is authentic – high stools and metal tables that are not particularly redolent of siestas and sombreros. So I finished quickly and left: unsurprised, but still a bit disappointed.

Mood before: Expectations firmly held in check

Mood after: Disappointed and light of pocket

Rating: Food: 6/10, Ambience: 6/10, Staff: 6/10, Value: 5/10

Where: 114-116 Charing Cross Road, seven days a week

Web: Find them here / @ChipotleTweets (US feed)

Closest tube: Tottenham Court Road

Recommended?: Could Do Better

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