Covent Garden, London
OUR AIM IS TO DELIVER EVERYTHING THAT IS EXCITING AND FRESH ABOUT MEXICAN FOOD TO THE PEOPLE OF LONDON, BANISHING OLD PERCEPTIONS OF HEAVY, GREASY, TASTEBUD-SEARING, SO-C... show more
OUR AIM IS TO DELIVER EVERYTHING THAT IS EXCITING AND FRESH ABOUT MEXICAN FOOD TO THE PEOPLE OF LONDON, BANISHING OLD PERCEPTIONS OF HEAVY, GREASY, TASTEBUD-SEARING, SO-CALLED TEX-MEX. FROM THE BEACHES OF BAJA AND CANCUN, TO THE MOUNTAINS OF THE SIERRA MADRE, MEXICO HAS AN show less
65-67 Amsterdam Road, Canary Wharf, Docklands, London E14 3UU
Delia Smith's Favourite Indian Restaurant! Evening Standard's 'Top 5 Curryhouse in London!' Come experience our special dishes as well as traditional favourites, cooked fresh in the heart of docklands.
18 reviews of Benito's Hat in English
Reviewed using iPhone. Get the app
I had the chicken burrito with refried beans. The portion was plenty, and they throw in a few complimentary salted nachos too. For this and a can of Coke I think the damage was around £7.50. The burrito was pretty good, but I also think there's probably better out there and I'd like to try a few other places, but wouldn't be adverse to coming back to Burrito's Hat.
The service is efficient and friendly and the surroundings are clean and casual. A good alternative to the Prets/Eats/McDonalds that dominate the surrounding area for pretty much the same price.
Reviewed using iPhone. Get the app
- I was part of a small group of Qypers invited to a preview night of this new branch of Benito’s Hat***
Visiting Benito’s Hat came at the end of a 2 week long craving for burritos, and this was the ideal place to sate it. We had a sample of fillings from the menu – I think I tried pork, chicken and veg. All were very tasty, but my particular favourite was the succulent and delicious pork – especially when combined with the black beans which were so amazing I could (and practically did) just eat them with a spoon. Even the nacho chips here are ideal – not salty or greasy, just the perfect receptacle for scooping up any of the wonderful salsas (try the salsa verde!). Or indeed for scooping up those scrumptious black beans.
The main reason we Qypers were invited was to sample the new signature cocktail menu which Benito’s is rolling out. We were taken on a journey through the history of the drink, why your cheap off-licence version with the worm in it just doesn’t cut the mustard, and what works well with tequila to make a top-notch cocktail. Then the poor unsuspecting staff of Benito’s Hat let us loose to formulate our own crazy concoctions – watch out for the winning cocktail in store!
So, what is this new branch like? The décor is bright and fresh – it doesn’t lean towards the tacky “let’s hang a whole bunch of Mexican rubbish on the walls” school of decorating, but neither does it come across as self-consciously trendy. The staff are friendly, and the obvious passion for authentic Mexican food and drink shines through.
A good tasting burrito, but the lack of any hot pepper sauce is a drawback. A bit more flexibilty would be good also (not everyone wants beans in their burrito!). Tortilla chips always seem a little stale too. A hell of a lot better than Chipottle though.
I found myself on the Southbank around lunch time on Saturday with a strong desire for the tacos. My number one choice in this area Tortilla was closed so I hiked on into town and made my way to Benito's Hat which is situated just off Covent Garden.
It was pretty quiet for a Saturday lunchtime with no queue and plenty of tables available. Like most of these "Mexican" burrito places the menu and instructions for ordering are on the wall which makes the whole thing very easy if you are not familiar with the concept.
It’s a nice room, bright and light with a functional layout. Take your choice of sitting at a regular table or there is a long counter with high stools which is probably best for singles or couples. It's not designed for a long, lingering lunch particularly during a busy mid-week lunch time but it's well designed and is pleasant enough. As there were only a few other diners I grabbed a table so I could spread out with my food, beer and newspaper.
The menu itself is pretty much the same as you will find at all the other main players in this area of "fast" food (think Tortilla, Burrito Bros, etc). Burritos, tacos and salads were all on offer with all the fillings we know and love, present and correct. I had a couple of the flour tacos with the pork; layered up with shredded lettuce, cheese, sour cream and topped off with some hot, hot sauce. Side order of guacamole, chips and a bottle of Modelo Especial and this fella was ready to chow down.
It was a fine taco but just a little too "sloppy", a small puddle of juice collected in the bottom of my foil wrapping, to be perfect for my taste. It's a fine line between moist and wet but nonetheless it was a pretty good lunch. The guacamole was as fresh as you like with a great zing to it and the chips were crispy and crunchy with no hint of grease.
My beer was a spot on accompaniment to the tacos and there are a few other brands available. A range of cocktails and tequila can also be had and the special 2 for 1 offer on the cocktails in the early evening would make this a bargain way to kick off a night in central London.
The staff are very friendly and efficient; more than happy to indulge in a bit of banter when things are quiet and they are keen to get your feedback.
It’s a good cheap fast dining experience, with quality ingredients well cooked, at Benito’s Hat. Perhaps not as good as the Fitzrovia branch but still pretty damn fine. If I could award a ½ star this would be getting 3 ½.
So I left well fed, a smile on my face and a spring in my step as I crossed Waterloo Bridge to check out the free lunchtime music being provided by the wicked Cuban combo, the Sugar Kings, at the National Theatre (a free London top tip if you are visiting our great city).
Reviews from www.grumblinggourmet.com
I have to say, I wasn't at all impressed. Benito's Hat is one of the new wave of burrito bars flooding London currently. Two sites, this one and another on Goodge Street.
Maybe it was my own fault for going in post theatre but to be honest I've had better, a lot better. The meat was a little dry and tasteless and the salsa too wet. It does the job, and I'll definitely be back earlier in service to try one again, but it's not the best I've had by a long chalk.
Went here as part of a Qype cocktails and burritos evening. Excellent burritos made by Ben and his team. Fab cocktails by Alex using blue agave tequila. We had a great time competing to make a cocktail that would have a guest spot on the menu. Will be definitely heading back.
The food was fresh, the value for money good. So for a quick bite to eat I would highly recommend it.
I was disappointed that there wasn't an option for a hard shell taco as I like my tacos to have some crunch.
The fact that there is a small bar in the back that serves some high quality tequila as well as tequila based cocktails at a great price is nice, but I would be more inclined to think of Benito's Hat as a place to have a drink if it had a cosier less cafeteria like feel to it.
All in all I like the fact that Mexican food is growing in popularity and the quality is getting better here in London, but I think there is still room for improvement.
For photos see Greedy Diva @ http://greedydiva.blogspot.com/2010/08/benitos-hat-mexica...
At last a burrito I can respect.
The jaw locking pork burrito at Benito's Hat is a behemoth example of what a burrito should be. It is literally bursting with pile upon pile of tender, fragrant shreds of carnitas pork - braised slowly and simmered with lime juice, balsamic vinegar, black pepper, cumin and oregano. The balsamic may lack authenticity, but is a deliberate improvement beyond reproach since it adds a superb kick. It comes topped with mounds of black beans (slow cooked and flavoured with avocado leaves), coriander and lime rice, lettuce, grated Montery Jack, guacamole, sour cream and salsa - all somehow rammed into a soft tortilla. I can't believe what I'm seeing as it's being built. But I keep quiet and watch bemused as they somehow manage to wrap it all up. It costs £5.50 (plus 50p for the guacamole). Bargain.
The Peanut Gallery's chargrilled steak burrito is right up there with the pork. Marinated overnight in chipotle chilies, lime and spices the lean meat is supremely tender with an earthy, smoky flavour - he opts for the slow cooked pinto beans with paprika instead of the black beans (£6.00).
This is gutsy Mexican food. It tastes both fresh and interesting. And (tip to other burritos I've tried recently) it's not overloaded with refried beans to the point of saturation of all other flavours.
Benito's Hat opened its new outlet in Covent Garden on 16th July, an offshoot of its popular Goodge St restaurant. The decor in Covent Garden is different - quite stark and white, with splashes of green and red, it doesn't encourage lingering. It screams fast food (despite the careful, slow cooking involved). But chef Felipe Fuentes Cruz concedes this, and admits the team are already considering changes to soften some of the edges and encourage their patrons to linger with that extra margarita or dessert.
You get the idea they're flexible enough to make whatever changes are required to satisfy their customers - some Goodge St customers have commented that the food tastes different, which Felipe puts down to the different, more modern equipment being used in the new kitchen. If the new stuff doesn't work out, they'll revert back to the same equipment as in the original store. It seems to be working out to me...
Named after Benito Juarez, a former Mexican president with a penchant for a certain distinctive wide-brimmed hat, Benito's Hat is the enterprise of Ben Fordham (ex-lawyer who has honed his culinary skills in Mexico) and head chef Felipe (formerly of other London Mexican restaurants like Green & Red). Felipe, hailing from Puebla in Mexico, is happy to chat with patrons as he works the floor and the cash register, and his passion - devoid of any ego - is obvious.
The aim here is to bring the vibrant flavours and colours of Mexico's rich culinary culture to Londoners who are over the bland Tex-Mex scene.
The flavours are simple and fresh. And, for once, the pork burrito tastes and smells distinctly different from the beef one.
There are tacos, salads and soups as well.
We start with a couple of margaritas - classic for me (£5) and watermelon for TPG (£6.00). Made with 100% Pure Blue Agave tequila (no mixers) they're excellent.
We accompany them with some light and crispy tortilla chips with a terrific guacamole - chunky fresh avocado, with the zing of lime and the bite of summery tomatoes.
We also try some tacos with 2 types of chicken - Ben's chargrilled chicken breast, marinated overnight in chipotle chillies, cumin and cinnamon, and Felipe's braised chicken breast version cooked in a blend of achiote (the seeds are ground and used as a mildly flavoured colouring agent in Mexican cooking), tomato and guajillo chillies (£4 for two). They come in soft flour tortillas with the recommended lettuce, cheese and salsa (although you can add other toppings). Alone they would be a much smaller meal than the burritos, and together with a burrito, it's all way too much. But we battle on in the line of duty...
Felipe's braised chicken is particularly good (again, so tender) but the tacos are less interesting, less meaty - I'm afraid they don't compete with the magnificent burritos so I take a couple of bites and decide not to waste rapidly diminishing stomach space.
And then, although we can't believe we're doing it, we have dessert. By this point our chairs are creaking, on which grounds we steer away from heavier options like the tres leches cake and go for a ball of dulce de leche ice-cream, sprinkled with cinnamon and surrounded with a higgledy piggledy array of buneulos (strips of fried flour tortillas) liberally sprinkled in sugar and cinnamon (£3.50). Presentation could be improved, and while I didn't adore the bunuelos I devoured them in a way you wolf down the empty calories of a packet of Doritos after a big night on the town - in that wasteful, dirty, mindless sort of way. The ice-cream was lovely.
Benito's Hat is great value - you could easily get away with a meal and a couple of drinks for around £15 (or well under a tenner for a quick bite without alcohol).
The only real drawbacks are some confusion around the method of service - the idea is to order up at the counter and walk along selecting your toppings. Some customers were clearly a little befuddled about where to start queuing from, and even while things were quiet, there is a bit of a wait. This issue will probably only magnify as the queues start rolling in.
I very recently ventured into the Benito's Hat near Covent Garden after passing it on opening day. It was one of those stronger than fate days destined for burritos - lo and behold it was opening day!
Despite my initial gut reaction calling for the big B I sort of felt compelled to go for the taco. For some reason I thought it was going to be a crispy taco but really it was just a small burrito - guess years of supermarket Mex food has seriously warped my idea of what a taco really is..!
It was a good experience... but not a spot on the Goodge Street in terms of service for some reason. Can't completely blame the guys working - it was their first day of work and they were likely finding their feet. I'm sure after a few days it will take off as it's a pretty busy area in dire need of Mexican persuasion!
Yum Yum Yum. Me gusta mucho!
Last night's private fiesta got going with Tequileno Tequila Blanco - 100% agave - and LOTS of it. We had an opportunity to try 7 Leguas Blanco as well, and compare the tastes before sampling 6 of the delicious cocktails that could be served up with your tacos or burritos. From the perfect margarita to cocktails with watermelon to espresso, I'm a total convert to tequila-based drinks!
To soak up all the tequila, we tried soft tacos filled with beef, pork, chicken or veggies, along with some salad and cheese. Served up on the side were some totopos and toppings of delicious salsa verde or a super hot chili salsa, sour cream and fresh, chunky guacamole. I was in heaven!
I'm definitely going to go again - to whichever location is within reach! Muy delicioso!
Yep, I was there for the cocktails and tacos opening party last night. It was a lot of fun! The folks at Benito's were super friendly. Everybody had a great time. Plenty of laughs, lots of food and killer drinks!
I was pleased to discover Benito's Hat now has a second location (their original location is on Goodge Street). The food is decent and very well priced and the cocktails are amazing. Want a cheap-n-cheerful meal in a comfy and attractive setting? You'll be wise to keep Benito's Hat in mind.
Benito's Hat in Covent Garden is an interesting addition to the Fitzrovia Benito's Hat, and other brightly coloured Mexican restaurants that have been popping up in London over the last few years.
The food follows the tried and tested formula where you select if you want a burrito or taco, the type of meat (based on the qype event last night I'd go with the spicy pork) and fillings. There is the obligatory additional charge for guacamole, so overall nothing too remarkable there.
The interesting part is the focus on the cocktail bar. There is an obvious expertise with tequila based cocktails as you would expect. Each month there is a guest brand, and a selection of house cocktails which may vary over time, although I'm sure anything Mexican can be made given their expertise.
I believe it may be necessary to order some food when drinking here to comply with their license (nachos may be enough) so it will be good to see how this all works out. Benito's Hat is certainly in a great location to try this welcome move from food towards tequila cocktails.
I came here for a qype cocktails and burritos evening. Leave your preconceptions about tequila at the door now. No worms (thats mezcal), no lime, no salt and definately, definately no slamming. This is the good stuff, 100% blue agave and as such deserves some respect. This forms the basis of the super smooth cocktails at Benitos Hat. My fav was the espresso martini but they were all pretty darn good. They have a guest tequila that changes every month so be sure to check back and see what's new. We then got to play around and come up with our own cocktails. Personally I still feel our combination of tequila, lime, gooseberries and caramel was a winner and I may sneak back and try to persuade Ben and Alex to put it on the menu!
We also got to sample the burritos and tortilla chips. Surprisingly for a comitted carnivore like myself, I actually liked the veggie ones best. For me the spicy pork could have been a little more spicy. But once I piled the black beans on top, mmn burrito heaven! I would totally come back to Benito's Hat when I'm craving mexican food and I would recommend seeking it out if you're in the covent garden area.
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