There is a burrito war waging on Upper Street in Islington. It seems that after years of being forced to endure oppressive Tex-Mex "restaurants", several London entrepreneurshave woken up to the business opportunity I have been fantasing about since I moved to London 20 years ago: the taco stand. (Okay, they are actually burrito stands, but taco stand has more resonance.)
First there was Beach Burrito on Berwick Street in Soho. They really hit the right notes : Californian-style mega burritos stuffed with carne asada, chicken, pork, etc. Then they closed down.
Now we have two entries on Upper Street:
Mucho Mas: I think their ingredients had been sitting in the warmers a bit too long, (they did not look particuarly appetizing) and I choked at paying 75p for a spoonful of guac. Their hot sauce was incendiary, so be warned if you don't like them SUPER hot. Only Corona was offered on the beer front. Staff were neither friendly or surly.
Tortilla: More choices (white rice vs spanish rice, pinto vs black beans, etc) and a more reasonable 50p for guac. Their medium sauce was bland and their hot sauce wasn't (hot). Three or four beers (Negra Modelo, Dos Equis and Corona, plus maybe one other) and margaritas on offer. Staff were more open and friendly. Seemed to be populated entirely by American customers.
Neither burrito was particularly flavourful. For me they tick all the boxes on ingredients but they just don't have any oomph. If I go back, it will be to Tortilla because of the wider choice when building your burrito, and better beers.
Both are good for a quick fix but I'd still prefer to make my burritos at home where I know they will have some FLAVOUR.
Meanwhile, here's a nice photo of a burrito bar in the Mission in San Francisco, the place that I first acquired my habit.
Photo credit: by Jonathan Fuchs on Flickr