Tortilla Mexican Grill, Unit 11A 106 Southwark Street, London SE1 0TA
As we waited in line at Tortilla Mexican Grill I had time to quickly read the blurb on the back of their takeaway menu. I’m now an (almost) expert on the length of the American/Mexican border and the difference between Mexican street food, Tex-Mex and California-Mexican… The latter of which is what Tortilla base their food on. Their thinking goes something along these lines… Tex-Mex dishes are huge, sloppy and messy, drenched in sauces and only eatable off a plate using a fork, not exactly ‘on the go’ food! Whereas the California-Mexican style uses fresh and light ingredients neatly wrapped in a tortilla, so you can (and I quote from the menu) “scoff it down on a sun-drenched beach before getting back on your surfboard.”
Well we won’t be scoffing anything and we definitely shan’t be surfing home from Bankside to Kent, no matter how much its been raining! Tortilla has a similar sounding menu to Benito’s Hat King’s Cross branch (click here for our review). There’s a Burrito (medium or large), Fajita Wrap (medium or large) which is basically the same as a Burrito but with sautéed peppers and onions instead of the Black or Pinto beans, a tortilla-less Naked Burrito (the lower carb option), Salad and Dos Tacos (two small soft corn or flour tortillas).
The same multitude of choices apply too… Which ‘bread’? Which filling (grilled chicken, grilled steak, braised pork or vegetarian)? Which rice (lime-cilantro or Mexican)? Which beans (Black or Pinto)? Cheese or sour cream? Salsa (mild – Pico de Gallo, medium – Salsa Verde or hot – Salsa Roja)? Guacamole? We were slightly put off by the containers of beans swamped in liquid, not very appealing. They also serve a good selection of bottled beers, £2.95-£4.50, with the Brooklyn Beer being my standout choice. They have Frozen Margaritas but no wine or coffees (not that we saw anyway), and no desserts!
I had a large Grilled Steak Burrito £6.45, with Salsa Verde and Guacamole, an extra 70p. I was going to mimic my Benito’s Hat order but fancied a bit of steak. The Scottish farm assured beef was good but tasted a little like a very good diced Sunday roast beef joint, although there’s not much evidence of the ‘special’ rub or the chargrilling. My whole burrito was really filling, in fact I nearly asked for a doggy bag to take some home – but I persevered! So can’t fault the portion size, next time I’d probably go for the steak fajita wrap, the sautéed peppers and onions shouldn’t be as filling as the beans.
Saff also had a large Grilled Chicken Burrito £5.95, again the chicken was cooked well and had stayed moist but, disappointingly, Saff was could only swap her cheese or sour cream (she can’t stand the taste of either) for a few shreds of lettuce! Not exactly a fair exchange both flavour or price wise… Not great customer service or possibly the waitress needed a little more training? As Saff asked for lettuce instead of cheese the lady serving shot a sarcastic look at the lady on the till next to her like we were invisible.
Along with lettuce-gate, Saff was a little disappointed with her food. The filling seemed bland and dry, the tortilla somehow stuck to her teeth, encasing here entire front set in bread making eating tricky, so it was a good job that we ordered the bottomless soft drinks, £1.40. The only problem was that it turned Saff into the last little piggy (and had to go wee wee wee all the way home).
All in all Tortilla is ideal for quick and filing food on the go, you can sit in but seating is limited to heavy wooden tables with long benches or window ledges with high stools. The more restauranty upstairs area was roped off, shame. The hand washing facilities for messy burrito hands were a bonus, good thinking Tortilla. During the day on the Southbank it does roaring trade, we often see the queue snaking out of the door, with branches all over London including a new branch at The Broadway Wimbledon, Tortilla seem to be doing well. But we can’t help but feel that the food and the staff were still tired from the lunchtime rush. When we have visited at lunch we have had far better burritos that left us wanting more.
106 Southwark Street, London SE1 0TA
Telephone: 0207 620 0285
Monday – Friday 12.00 – 21.00
Closed at the weekend
Nearest tube: Southwark
Follow them on Twitter
Like them on Facebook