it was an impromptu decision to check this little mexican place out, when our original plans to eat at nearby lantana were foiled because we arrived at the awkward time between 1130am and noon when the cafe was no longer serving breakfast and had yet to start serving lunch.
located along goodge street, benito’s hat is hugely popular with the lunchtime crowd as evidenced by the snaking queue which had formed outside the shop when we were leaving. their menu is simple – burritos, tacos, salads (naked burritos – basically a burrito without the wrap) and soups. service is efficient and food is made to order at the counter:
all of us opted for burritos that day – we could choose from chicken, pork and a beef special as the meat filling (grilled veggies are also available for vegetarians), and for the toppings you have the choice of adding cheese/sourcream/lettuce/beans (choose from 2 types!)/rice. choose a sauce from the range that varies in spiciness, add some guacamole if you want, and you have your meal all ready to go! here’s the menu on the blackboards:
most people seemed to be getting takeaway, but they do have seats in the shop if you prefer to enjoy your food in-store. the burritos are pretty huge, and they’re all served with a side of nachos:
the nachos were a nice addition but were missing some sauce or cheese slathered on top. as for the burritos, they were literally bursting with ingredients and their weight was testament to that fact – i was surprised at how heavy mine was when i lifted it to remove the foil! needless to say, it was extremely filling. in fact, i would say that its possible to share one between two small eaters!
braised pork burrito with guacamole – £5.90 + 70p
i had my burrito with braised pork, and added guacamole for an additional 70p. i actually felt that 70p for the rather small amount of guacamole they added was quite pricey, but what is mexican food without guacamole! avo is always too good to pass on…
the burrito was VERY satisfying. the greens added were fresh, toppings were added generously (besides the guacamole as mentioned above), the braised pork was juicy and tasty, and the refried beans (you can choose between these and black beans) were delicious. it was a wrap that was bursting with flavour and was made even more yummy by the fact that it was freshly-made and warm! trust me, you’ll definitely get your mexican craving satisfied with this hearty goodness.
i imagined a serious carb overload if i added rice to the mix, so i asked not to have any added, but here’s my friend’s burrito which had rice in it: (sorry not a very appetising picture i know!)
we were completely stuffed by the time we had made our way through the burritos, but there’s always room for dessert right? 😉 and thankfully we all embraced the idea of desserts going into a separate stomach and decided to order some sweet treats to share, because the desserts were the highlight of our quick lunch there!
bunuelos: crispy strips of tortilla with cinnamon, sugar and real vanilla ice cream – £3.25
we were really excited when we saw this arrive at our table because we weren’t really sure what to expect and this looked like nothing we had tried before! the strips of tortilla were thin and crispy (just as they were described) and coated in just the right amount of cinnamon and sugar to give them a light sweetness that went perfectly with the vanilla ice cream which was thick and smooth. the oil used to fry the tortillas was fresh and because of how thin the strips were, they made for a lighter and seemingly less oily treat than churros would have been. it actually reminded me of a sweet dessert prata (for the uninformed, this is a delicious singaporean-indian flatbread/pancake-esque thing)!
we actually wanted to order the flan but it wasn’t available that day, so this is what we ended up getting and boy, were we glad we did! definitely worthy of first-pick status instead of the second choice status we relegated it to. the cake was amazingly dense and moist while not being too heavy, while the fresh cream that accompanied it was super duper light. the milky sauce that the cake was drenched in was sweet (maybe too sweet for some people), but not cloyingly so. this was really the highlight of our lunch that day, and this tres leches cake was still referred to with great enthusiasm when it came up in conversation recently, so that’s definitely a sign of deliciousness 😉 it was a pretty generous slice too, so the price you pay for it is rather reasonable.
benito’s hat was a pretty random find on a random friday afternoon, but it probably isn’t going to be random to me very much longer because i’ll be back when i’m looking for a simple, fuss-free mexican meal! they also have a happy hour from 5pm-7pm daily, where cocktails (watermelon/pomegranate/strawberry margarita, anyone?) are 2-for-1 – a pretty good deal worth checking out 🙂
56 Goodge Street
London W1T 4NB