Clerkenwell Burrito Diaries – Mexicana, Fetter Lane


A new venue! It appears to be really very new. In fact the reason for the long queue outside was revealed once I read the nearby sandwich board. “50% Off burritos this week”. I was curious. Curious as to how a pleasant quality meaty Calippo could be delivered to my food hole for the minimal sum of £2.75.

Lets assume it’s a loss leader, I thought, and not concern ourselves with the quality before eating it. For that would quite literally be prejudice, after all. Once nearer the establishment I could tell that the queue was not in fact as long as I had feared, and I was asked for my selection from their menu as soon as I entered the place. With a good number of staff ladling on fillings to the flour tortillas I was hopeful I would be in and out quickly.

Back to the options. There are a bewildering array of meaty choices available ranging from Texas chilli to (!)Chicken Tikka(?). I’m not sure that’s the kind of fusion I can get behind. I went for my standard first benchmark of an establishment and opted for the Carnitas – 12 hour cooked pulled pork, apparently. Refreshingly they also offered some more interesting veggie options that the standard Fajita veg with Guac which most places opt for. Two rice options as well – “Mexican” and lime & coriander.

The refried beans appeared to be a mushier version of the black bean option – more akin to the refritos I was familiar with as an accompaniment to huevos rancheros for breakfast in Mexico. I thought I’d give them a bash, despite the fact that pinto beans really do go better with pork (there didn’t appear to be a pinto bean option).

Hot sauce and guacamole top off my lunch and I head back to the office. I chow down. The filling seems remarkably low temperature given the indoor, under glass, in a catering cabinet nature of the food prep. Come to think of it I don’t recall them warming the tortilla prior to filling, which might be a contributory factor (or might just demonstrate my completely useless short term memory). The pork is a little greasy, and has more in common with a fairground hog roast meat than some sort of hickory flavoured spicy treat. I do remember them adding hot-sauce to the mound of filling but I cannot taste it. Not one bit. There’s a background spicyness but the whole thing is less mouth tingling than a packet of paprika crisps. The beans are interesting but in no way flavoursome. And my worries about the partially oxidised pot of avocado are borne out by eating. The pears are ripe but the onion flaccid and the Guac follows the rest of the burrito in being fundamentally lacking in spice.

I finished the lunch but I was not proud of myself. I feel dirty now. I’ve cheated on my faithful lover by straying, seduced by novelty. If the sign is an indication of the source of the restaurant, Eatsies round the corner should stick to what they know. Too much variety of choice has led to them being good at none of the possibilities available at this new venture. And put some chillies in your hot sauce for f***’s sake.

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