The restaurant scene is changing, has changed. Right now, it is all about squeezing a restaurant in…squeeze it into a pop up, squeeze it into your mates warehouse for a one night supper club, squeeze it into a car park (guerilla dining style) or squeeze it into an already established trendy bar, which is what Death by Burrito did at Catch Bar, Shoreditch.
Shay Ola of the Rebel Dining Society fame has teamed up with mixologist Ryan Chetiyawardana to create Death by Burrito. It is a simple concept that dreams big. Six cocktails feature on the list which is wholly based around tequila. Not to everyone’s liking but you’re sure to be able to find a cocktail you like, if you open your mind a little. I opted for the You da ho-chata, a heady concoction comprising, tequila, cinnamon, cardamom and smoke, it was smooth and punchy and left me feeling marginally intoxicated, what more could you want from a cocktail? Still not sure how you get smoke in a drink… So, there I was, nestled in a booth, cocktail in hand and menu in front of me. I was ready.
It is much easier to order when you can’t eat half of the menu, luckily in a Mexican restaurant, there are quite a few choices for the gluten free among us, it being the land of corn and all. And so I settled on the Scallop ceviche to start and the grilled duck breast and chimichurri taco for something more substantial. Now, this is a simple kind of enterprise, food is served all at once, with an emphasis on sharing and comes on paper dishes. The scallop ceviche was nice. I know, I know, nice is not a good word, it lies slap bang in the very mediocre descriptor category. Nice is an appropriate descriptor for an afternoon drinking tea with your Gran, nice is an appropriate descriptor for the new socks you got at christmas, nice is not a great word to be forced into using when describing a new dish, in a new restaurant. But it was nice, pleasant, nothing to write home about. I expect ceviche to taste fresh and zingy and full of life and to be honest, if there was a sound I could use to describe it, it would be, ‘meugh’. There was nothing wrong with it, there was just nothing particularly right with it either, it was, and I hate to say it, so I’ll say it quietly, a little boring.
Ok, moving swiftly on. The taco was tasty, definitely more exciting than my starter but still not knock your socks off delicious. And at £12 a pop, you kind of expect some bang for your buck. Grilled duck breast was tender and flavoursome but the chimichurri sauce was again, lacking guts. I really think a little more attention to detail in terms of livening up the flavours and adding a little seasoning would have gone a long way in elevating it from lovely dining experience to love to eat it every day experience. I tried some of my friends Smoked beef and sweet potato burrito, the meat was juicy and was the winner in the flavour stakes/steaks. However, said friend was a little miffed that the burrito was constructed more in the traditional Mexican way without rice, whereas the American tex mex incarnation is usually chockers with rice.
The corn chips were the hero of the night for me. They were very thin, crisp and light but not the blue corn, as advertised. This is a good concept place and will probably become wildly popular within its demographic. Young hungry hispters will no doubt come and hang out in the dimly lit booths whilst there is still a buzz about the place and until the next ‘must go’ restaurant opens. Don’t get me wrong, I had a really nice (there’s that word again) time there but I won’t be rushing back. However, it will definitely get a second visit from Little Chef; eventually.