Tucked away on a corner of Baker Street usually inhabited by (infested with?) large packs of spotty teenage tourists with matching yellow rucksacks of a Saturday morning, or suited office types of a weekday lunchtime, lies London’s newest addition to the fast-growing world of _quality fast food_.
As one who has always believed the phrase _”quality” fast food_ to be completely incongruous in itself, and therefore who usually shuns fast food (fast), Chipotle is, admittedly, a place that on any other day I might pass-by without giving it a thought. It’s unique to this country; sadly the idea of quality fast food has passed us poor Brits by, yet every time I visit the US – a deli in NYC or a burger joint in Portland, I am bowled-over by how decent the food is. On the other hand, your average UK sandwich shop or independent burger shop (Chicken Cottage, anyone? Subway? EW!) fill me with The Fear.
By _”quality” fast food_, I mean that the ingredients are sourced by the restaurant directly, all food is created from scratch onsite and on the same day – even the tortilla chips – and more importantly, a great deal of care and love is pumped into all aspects of food creation.
Chipotle is an American-Mexican restaurant which I dearly hope will play a small part in changing the game with UK fast food. Even *I* can bring myself to use the R word (rather than calling it a “joint” or mere “outlet”), especially when I know my quick-grab lunch is the product of about 6 hours of preparation by real cooks.
It has a rather beautiful and quirky history; a chain with a soul, if you will. Despite its brief foray into some form of partnership with the proprietors of the Big Golden Arches (eeeevil), Chipotle has stayed true to its roots and sources its ingredients locally, where possible. Essentially that means: meats and vegetables from the UK. Of course there are exceptions: avocados are seasonal and they are mostly imported from far-off warm lands.
To give you a quick idea of the level of care and knowledge that goes into the food here, our guide Jacob talked about the difference in flavour of avocados from various different countries and at different times of the year. We were moving into the time of the year where the Hass avocados are sourced from Chilli, which meant they wouldn’t be perfect for another few weeks. Or what about the difference in flavour profile of guacamole depending on what kind of salt is used? Enough said, right? They know their stuff!
The proof was in the pudding, though. The pork burrito with black bean and mild chilli and guac was absolutely superb.
I’m all about a good burrito, it used to be difficult picking one up anywhere in London – especially to go – but it’s getting easier these days.
Don’t be fooled: although Chipotle serves your lunch in 3 minutes flat, this is some seriously brilliant food.