London Larder was devised in 2012 to bring you the ultimate eating and drinking guide to London. It was borne out of a need for up-to-date, quantitative and whole-heartedly recommended places to eat and drink.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Benito’s Hat


Benito’s Hat is a fast-food Mexican restaurant now in five locations around London. We went to check out the new restaurant in Farringdon, full of hope for a tasty, quick bite to eat before heading on to the pub. We were greeted on arrival by a friendly waitress and given menus to browse before we ordered two frozen margaritas. Frozen margaritas, however, were off the menu (we assumed the blender was broken) and we were told classic margaritas were available. These were tasty enough, although perhaps not as strong as we usually like.

We ordered food from the counter and chose two burritos; slow braised pork and steak. Steak was off the menu so brisket was offered instead. We were happy and took our seats again and where we were served some tortillas and a selection of salsa from the salsa bar. The plain tomato salsa was delicious and before we knew it we had devoured half the bottle. The pineapple salsa was an interesting concept but a bit too sweet for our taste.

We waited half an hour and after no indication of our food arriving anytime soon, we decided to check, only to be informed they had lost our order, so we had to order again. We were concerned because we thought we might have confused the staff by ordering from the counter instead of the table, but to their credit, the food turned up in two minutes.  We had requested one of the burritos to be dairy-free (so no cheese or sour cream), but upon biting into the burrito, we quickly realised we had been given an incorrect order.

When we finally got the correct meals, we found that the burritos were very tasty.  The meat was tender and the guacamole was fresh. We had opted for the extra hot ‘salsa diabla’ and it punched a fair kick and suitably complemented the remainder of the salsa from the tortillas earlier.

Feeling in the mood for something sweet, we ordered a serving of fried tortillas to share, coated in sugar and cinnamon and dished up alongside a scoop of vanilla ice cream. In contrast to the former, this was a bit underwhelming; we couldn’t work out if the tortillas were supposed to be crispy or soft like churros - they were neither) and ultimately gave the effect of coming over a bit stale.

Overall, Benito’s Hat has potential, but we found our experience mixed. The service is friendly but not very efficient service and the food is good (with the exception of dessert). For a fast-food establishment, the over-arching sentiment is that it is just not very quick!

12-14 St John Street, EC1M 4AY

Food/drink: 2/5
Service: 2/5
Value: 3/5


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