It has enjoyed a very successful run thus far, but that wasn’t just because of the food: owner Ben noticed that as many people were coming to sample the tequila house cocktails as were coming to eat. A second branch is now opening in Covent Garden and this time around they are hitting the ground running with their fusion of taco and tequila.
Dressed in red, white and green straight from the flag, the place is clean and bright and the food ordering process is no-nonsense. Pick your type of meal (burrito, taco, salad), filling (chicken, pork, beef, vegetable), and topping (beans, cheese, sauce etc) at the counter, and it will be whipped up quickly for you to enjoy. Most dishes are priced in the region of £4-6, which is all the more impressive when you hear the Benito’s gang actually use relatively local produce, which they then treat with their patented Mexican know-how.
The meat tacos were all tasty, ranging in spice intensity and with a good level of succulence. The veggie taco didn’t pack much flavour, but maybe the salads offer a bit more substance for non-carnivores.
I can’t lie – as a serial liver punisher, I was more excited about the cocktails than the food. Luckily for me I was privy to some expert advice from Benito’s resident tequila salesman/barman. Running us through the history, quality, and tastes of the tequilas on offer at Benito’s, I was impressed just how good they were. It was the first time I had really enjoyed tequila without the eyelid-inverting spasm it usually gives me when I try the cheap stuff. Our mixologist then proceeded to conjure up each of the tequila cocktails on the menu, covering classics such as the margarita and the refreshing paloma.
If you like fancy garnishes or five-minute preparations, try elsewhere; these are quick and uncomplicated, allowing you to enjoy it in time for your food.
To end the evening, my fellow guests and I were challenged to create a new cocktail for the menu. Armed with a multitude of ingredients at our fingertips, it was basically the blind leading the intoxicated blind. However, my team of five muddled through and after a few attempts settled on a lemon, tequila and strawberry based, er, thing.
All in all, I left thinking how much I enjoyed the style of Benito’s Hat. For a quick bite, you’ll get fresh, well-priced Mexican dishes which are superior to the other fast food we see everywhere. Realistically though, the real selling point about the whole experience is munching down some quick and tasty Mexican classics with a dirty great big margarita in your hand, knowing you still have change for the bus.
56 Goodge Street
Tel: 020 7637 3732