After a ridiculous couple of weeks in Vietnam, I was kindly invited to the launch of the ‘Ingredients Reign’ campaign at Chipotle on St. Martin’s Street. The central ingredient to the campaign being, yep you guessed it, responsibly raised and grown ingredients. I’ll come back to it later, but when it comes to the taste, this clearly makes a big difference. After negotiating my way through the crowds for some premier or another at the Odeon Leicester Square, the staff at the new Chipotle, just on the corner of St. Martin’s Lane gave me a lovely welcome. As soon as you step in, the decor is consistent with the rest of their stores, modern, slick and functional – think bricks and stainless steel surfaces.
Chipotle are known for their incredible burritos, so I grabbed myself one of those to get going, but after a few weeks travelling, it was the salads that caught my eye. The service was super speedy and the portions were huge – a big plus. All of the ingredients are freshly made in house and there’s a range of toppings on offer. The meats are still a staple ingredient to the salads and with a choice of braised pork (‘Carnitas’ on the menu), chipotle marinated grilled chicken, braised beef (‘Barbacoa’) or steak, the steak looked too good to turn down. Perfectly seasoned, cooked to medium rare and then cut into bite sized chunks without a bit of fat in sight, I was amazed at how tender the meat was. And they’re only £6.50 per salad.
Chipotle’s salads are served just like their burritos without the wrap – on a crispy baseof chopped lettuce, layered with a choice of two beans, lashings of lean meat, spice (freshly chopped salsa, medium spice, or hot), cheese and topped with naturally sweetened corn, homemade guacamole, sour cream or all three. If you’re reducing the calories or looking for a lean option, then cutting out the sour cream or cheese and instead opting for the homemade salsa (go for the chicken too if you’re being really good!) is the one. AND it’s all gluten free.
The only down side for me were the tortilla chips on the tables – they were a bit soggy, and this cost Chipotle a perfect score, BUT this was probably due to the fact they were left on the tables to pick at, rather than ordered fresh, as the flavours were still on point – loads of tangy lime gave them a really authentic Mexican kick, so they’d be great as a side. And after a few coronas and a Margarita (Or two), I was still wolfing them down anyway.
There’s over 2,300 Chipotle’s in the States already. Currently there’s 6 in the UK, but the company want to have one in every town in the U.K. eventually. It’s clear that this authentic, Mexican style, quality cuisine which is created solely from freshly cooked ingredients is going to be a winning recipe in the the UK & Europe & I’ll certainly be popping in next time a fancy a delicious salad on the go, or a Burrito if it’s cheat day….
Chipotle Mexican Grill – Various London Addresses – See https://chipotle.co.uk/locations