London “Taco Shop” 1: Exmouth Market Burrito Stand

November 13, 2008

Desperately craving a burrito, I decided to head down the road to a local open air market.  The market is home to a wide array of food stands, many of which serve lovely cultural creations that are made with fresh and vibrant ingredients.  Never had I been disappointed by lunches fetched from Exmouth Market…until today.  The Exmouth Market Burrito stand set an sdtacoshops record in futility garnering only 10 out of a possible 50 points.

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Overall Taste (3/25 Points)

I ordered a steak burrito, one of the easiest taco shop dishes to prepare, yet these guys butchered it.  Their first mistake was the use of regular, unseasoned white rice which had a very starchy flavor, and did not mix well with the other ingredients.  Mistake number two was the use of a tough, low quality steak that tasted like the meat of an undercooked pot-roast.  Mistake three: the burrito was ice cold.  Mistake four: Even though I did not request its inclusion, one of the burrito makers put lettuce in my burrito.  The lettuce had an odd aftertaste and overpowered the other flavors.  Mistake five: The use of a tortilla that was almost entirely bland except for the bizarre rye flavor that accompanied every bite.  

Needless to say, my eating experience was highly unpleasant, but even worse, the burrito left my stomach with an ache.

Service/Atmosphere (1/5 points)

Upon reaching the front of the “queue,” I reached into my pocket, retrieved my trusty camera, and took a quick snap shot of the burrito stand.  For the first time in the history of my taco shop reviews, one of the employees made a comment about the photography, snapping at me: “what’s with the picture”?  It was at this point that for the first time, I informed the establishment I would be reviewing my eating experience.  This elicited the now friendlier response: “ah, well in that case, we’ll make you a nice, fatty burrito.”  

Actions though speak louder than words.  In the first step of the burrito creation, the man at the rice container got extremely lazy and scraped the bottom of the barrel rather than retrieving a fresh container of rice.  The result was the delivery of burnt, crusty rice to my tortilla.  This laziness combined with the rude welcome I received at the onset is unacceptable for a place that does not prepare quality food.

Quality of the Hot Sauce (1/5 points)

This burrito stand did not offer any hot sauces on the side.  Rather, they only allowed customers to choose from a selection of three salsas to be included inside the burrito.  The salsa verde I tried looked more brown than green, and tasted watered down.  All it added to my burrito was a level of sogginess-not additional flavor.

Presentation (3/5 points)

The burrito itself actually looked decent.  It was properly folded, and as promised: fat all around.  It was wrapped in the classic aluminum foil.  Although I did not penalize them for this, I do wonder whether the burrito would have looked as good had they not known I was doing a review.

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Freshness (1/5 Points)

The steak tasted canned.  The lettuce was old and dehydrated.  The salsa verde was brown.  Worst of all they used unripe avocados for the guacamole.  At one point I literally had to grind through a hard, dense avocado clump.  The only reason I am awarding even a single point for freshness is because the avocados were so hard, I am certain the guacamole was homemade.

Value (1/5 points)

This Chipotle wannabe charges Chipotle prices for much lesser quality.  I paid 5 pounds for a grotesque burrito that should really sell for no more than 3 pounds.  Avoid the Exmouth Market Burrito Stand at all costs.

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