Benito’s Hat Mexican Kitchen, King’s Cross Station, Mezzanine level, London N1 9AP
Now we know that you wouldn’t make King’s Cross Station a ‘destination’ if you wanted to go out for a meal… But if you were there waiting for, say, the 19.53 to Newcastle, had 20 minutes to kill and your tummy was starting to rumble, then Benito’s Hat Mexican Kitchen should be your first stop.
It’s up on the mezzanine level, tucked in between a Prezzo and a coffee shop. You can’t miss it, it’s all shiny new, bright green and orange and white. I loved the car headlamp style lighting and the number plates hanging from the ceiling. A brilliantly quirky and fun touch that makes BH. standout from most of the ‘designed by play-it-safe robots’ restaurants on the mezzanine. Talking of design the new roof of King’s Cross (designed by John McAsian and Partners) looked absolutely stunning, the light is amazing, even on a very grey and rainy evening. The service here is friendly and welcoming, more so than other similar eateries that we have visited recently.
You order your food at the counter, very similar to Tortilla and Chilango (we so miss the Bluewater branch of Chilango, our benchmark of a fine burrito) and are given mix & match options on what to order. Firstly you choose your ‘base’ either the standard Burrito, the slightly smaller Burrita and the soft Tacos (or nothing if you want the salad option). I opted for two tacos, I wanted to leave some room for dessert, while Saff went for the belly busting burrito. Next decision was between black beans or refried? beans, Saff had one and I the other but to be honest once the other ingredients were added the difference in flavour was hardly noticeable. Saff said her burrito was excellent, on a par with her favourite burrito establishment Chilango, and the crescent of tortilla chips on the side was a nice touch for scraping up the remnants.
Then came the main filling, a choice of four meats and the grilled veg option. Saff chose the braised chicken and I the braised pork, both meats were cooked really well considering that the actual kitchen looked tiny, my pork was so tender. Decisions 4, 5 and 6 were thankfully all yes or no choices… Cheese (me yes, Saff no), Sour cream (me yes, Saff no) and guacamole (me yes, Saff yes). Saff’s burrito was also padded with rice and some shredded lettuce. The only remaining bit of brain work was whether we wanted mild (Verde), medium (Brava) or hot (Del diablo) salsa, we both went for brava. A very easy to navigate ordering system, sometimes these kind of menus can totally screw with your head.
Prices all depend on what combination of ingredients are picked, burritos are more expensive than two tacos, grilled steak costs more than the chicken and so on and so forth… My two tacos came to £6.10 and Saff’s burrito came to £7.90. The usual soft drinks are served along with a couple of Mexican beers, a small wine list, five cocktails, four aguas frescas and hot drinks. But if you fancy something a little different try the Jarritos, a bottled Mexican soft drink made from 100% natural ingredients and available in three flavours, mandarin, grapefruit and mango.
After our salsa and tortilla making classes at Benito’s Hat near Oxford Circus, I knew I had to have the Bunuelos, £3.65, strips of crispy tortilla dusted with sugar and cinnamon and served with vanilla ice-cream… Delicious! Saff described them as monster Golden Graham’s. She fairly predictably, ordered a Flan Casero, £3.80, a thicker and creamier Mexican version of a crème caramel.
We left with full bellies and happy faces, there’s something about Benito’s Hat that makes us smile – maybe it’s because we know of the huge amount of passion they have for what they do, maybe it’s simply the memory of their shot at fame on this year’s Britain’s got talent (click here to watch it). Or maybe it’s just that for around a tenner you can have a decent meal that would keep you full all the way to Newcastle… Well you wouldn’t want to rely on train food!
King’s Cross Station, Mezzanine level,
London N1 9AP
020 7812 1304
MONDAY – THURSDAY 7.00 – 23.00
FRIDAY 7.00 – 23.30
SUNDAY 09.00 – 22.00
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