Burritos are contentious things. Who would have thought a simple question like ‘Where can I get the best burrito in London?’ could cause so much controversy? It seems this Mexican street food tends to gain a loyal following, with Daddy Donkey, Freebird and Luardos often being the most popular options of the capital.
Just in case you’ve been living in a cave for the past few years, burritos are a Mexican delicacy. Some say it’s beef or chicken wrapped in a tortilla. But it’s so much more than that. Obviously you have a choice of meat or peppers if you’re a veggie. Then there are the added extras. Like soured cream, cheese, refried beans, salsa, guacamole and lettuce. If you’re doing it right, a large burrito should be about the size and weight of a brick. Not. Even. Joking.
So when I was asked to take a look at Tortilla’s version of Mexico’s best (may not be true) export, I was a tough nut to crack. You see, I’m a Daddy Donkey girl. They’re located in London’s Leather Lane, in Clerkenwell. Their food is so good the queue is usually halfway down the road, and there are strict limits as to how many burritos you can buy. Because otherwise all the offices around the corner would send the skivvy to get everyone’s lunch, and I’m assuming waiting thirty minutes for Pam from Accounts to order sixteen different meals isn’t fun.
Anyway, with a completely neutral mindset, I travelled over to Tortilla on the Strand. They first opened in Islington in 2007, and this particular branch opened in October 2012. Unlike most other places serving street food, there’s a gorgeous seating area upstairs with a huge panoramic window so you can do some proper people (and red bus/black cab) watching while enjoying your food and a cool margarita. They also have a range of imported beers from Mexico if beer’s more your thing.
Walking in, you join the queue and wait to be served from the canteen-style area. The menus above show you what you can order and which fillings go together. So, I went for a large tortilla filled with steak and cheese, coriander rice, soured cream, medium-hot salsa and guacamole. It passed the brick test. There was no way I was going to be able to eat the whole thing in one sitting, so for £7 I got two lunches. The pork is just as delicious. I wasn’t keen on the mildest salsa, but that’s just because I like my sauce with a bit of a kick. Oh, and the nachos a make a great alternative to a bag of Quavers.
The taste test was also passed with flying colours. I’d even go so far as to say the flavours are a bit more intense than others I’ve tried – the mix of salsa, guacamole and rice left my mouth tingling for a good while after. (Sadly I’ve never had an actual Mexican burrito so I can’t compare the two. One day.) And with restaurants located in every part of the city and even as far south as Southampton, it’s nice that everyone in London gets the same experience.
So. Whether you’re a burrito virgin or a staunch fan, I’d wholeheartedly recommend giving Tortilla a go. What about you? Are you a die-hard loyal customer, or do you prefer to try a little of everything the city has to offer? Let us know!