Located close to my lodging and recommended by Time Out London, Tortilla was certainly worth trying. As it turns out, Tortilla is an eatery that follows Chipotle’s model to the tee. The interiors are eerily similar, and the menu has the same layout and food options. Even the burritos are served the same way: wrapped in tin foil and placed in a plastic basket. Unfortunately, I cannot recommend Tortilla as a Chipotle replacement for Americans living abroad. The food is just not good enough.
Overall Taste (10/25 points)
Bland. That’s the best word to describe the flavor of a Tortilla burrito. The “braised pork” in my burrito contained absolutely no flavor. The “spanish rice,” added nothing more than texture. The tortilla-standard. I was appreciative of the homemade guacamole, but come on, how hard is it to add some seasoning to the meat and rice?
Service/Atmosphere (3/5 points)
As I said, the restaurant was pretty much identical to your typical Chipotle, and really, there is nothing wrong with that. The interior was clean and modern, and the restaurant was buzzing with positive customer energy. Communal seating added to the fun atmosphere. With that said, there was minimal seating, and there was only room for me to park one of my butt cheeks on the edge of the bench. The other cheek was forced to maintain mid-air suspension for the duration of my meal.
Quality of the Hot Sauce (1/5 points)
Again, bland. I had the burrito maker add pico-de-gallo, and salsa verde to my burrito. I finished the entire burrito without tasting either of the two salsas. The supposedly medium-spiced salsa verde added absolutely no heat to my burrito.
Presentation (3/5 points)
As previously mentioned, the burrito was rolled in tin foil and placed in a plastic basket. It’s a nice way of presenting a burrito, certainly better than just plopping it on a tray. Unfortunately, my burrito was poorly rolled, and upon unwrapping the foil, I immediately noticed large soggy puddles on certain regions of the tortilla. Proper draining of the beans and meat, combined with some employee training in “burrito rolling 101” would have contributed to a much higher score in this category.
Freshness (4/5 points)
Freshness was the one area Tortilla shined. While I could not taste the food, I am certain it was fresh. The grill where the meats are cooked was in plain site, and an inspection of the raw meats revealed the use of high quality freshness. Likewise, the guacamole was made from real avocados-not extracted from a pre-packed bag. The salsas contained nice color and also appeared to be made on premises.
Value (1/5 points)
Not only was the burrito mediocre, but I had to shell out 6.10 pounds for it. While I refuse to take exchange rates into account, instead treating a pound and dollar equally, I cannot possibly award more than 1 point for a bad burrito that cost two times what many of the best San Diego taco shops charge for their much superior burritos.
***Note: The Official Tournament will resume in approximately 2 weeks time. Round 2 should present some intriguing match ups, and much closer battles than what was seen in round 1!