Blue Tomato Review: Benito’s Hat Farringdon
Originally posted on and written for Blue Tomato Reviews.
It goes without saying that I love my food, the fact that I write for a food review website and constantly have at least three snacks on me at any one given time is probably another clue…but if you know me at all then you will know that I don’t generally like to share food…yes, in fact I am the female version of Joey from Friends “CLARE DOESN’T SHARE FOOD”…so what do I go and do, check out Benito’s Hat and their evening sharing menu of course!
I’ve been to other Benito’s Hat restaurants before and stuffed myself silly with burritos encompassing every possible type of meat served and so I had high hopes that the evening, sharing or not, would bring that joyous feeling where you are so full, it takes you a good half hour to be able to fully function again.
Small and intimate, the Farringdon branch invites you to sit down straight away with an array of small tables and a comfy sofa booth in the corner lit up by quirky bins and empty food cans. The standard burrito-making section lies at the back of the premises on show for customers to see their meal prepared in front of their eyes from start to finish but that’s not it, this venue also offers a quaint little salsa bar, complete with neon ceiling lights.
My friend and I ordered drinks first, a lime based beer for my friend in the form of a Micheladas (£3.95) which arrived in a salt rimmed glass and a Mojito (£6.50) for myself. As a self-claimed Mojito expert, this was a pretty damn good cocktail, leaving me desperate to try the margaritas on offer and with 2 for 1 cocktails every day from 5-7, I may just have to go back and do that!
On to the food and we opted to skip the burritos in favour of the sharing menu…big mistake. The Street Taco selection (£14) allows you to sample various tacos in the form of chicken tinga, braised pork and hongos silvestres…that’s spicy wild mushrooms to me and you. The corn tortillas are served alongside a large portion of lettuce, some creamy guacamole, tomato salsa and grated rubbery cheese all of which are needed to fill the tacos, due to the sparse amount of filling in them (with the exception of the braised pork – which was by far the best tasting too). The saving grace is that this sharing dish allows you to choose one of the sides, all of which sounded appetising and it was a game of rock, paper, scissors that eventually decided that we were to try the Esquites (£2.30) on this occasion! The game did not fail us as the oregano flavoured sweetcorn kernels were sprinkled with paprika and feta cheese, making for an oddly delicious creamy combination that was utterly moreish. However, if like my friend and I you have a large appetite, you may want to order an extra side or two or perhaps the Mexican tapas sharing platter (£6.70) on top of this.
We definitely had room for dessert and so opted for one of my favourite desserts, a crème caramel, otherwise known as Flan Casero (£3.50) when served ‘the Mexican way’. However, I suggest you avoid this at all costs unless you like the feeling of a sinking ship in your stomach; contrary to the menu’s description this was quite the opposite to the light and fluffy, melt in your mouth caramel that I am usually used to, but hey maybe my mum’s a better cook than this Benito dude…
The Tres Leches Cake (£3.75) on the other hand is a dessert that you must try! Unassuming in looks, this is definitely a case where you should not judge a book by its cover as the little beauty surprises the taste buds with a hidden sweetness soaked in the bottom. The rich sauce made with three types of milk: evaporated, condensed and standard cow’s milk transforms this simple looking cake into an intense puddle of goodness!
My advice to any diners after this ordeal is that sharing is no good, yes you may be told as a child that it is good to share, toys – definitely, food – no. Get your money’s (and belly’s) worth with a big burrito to yourself, thus lining your stomach before drinking your body weight in Mexican beer and heading down the round for a night out at Fabric. Just don’t sit near the air con as you may get a bit chilly!