Holy guacamole, do I love Mexican food! I have long lamented the lack of decent Mexican food in Canberra – and while we still have yet to get a proper Mexican restaurant (Elk & Pea is probably the closest, although it is quite ambiguous about what type of cuisine it serves), the past couple of years has seen the rise of a Mexican fast food tidal wave.
So, upon returning to Canberra after a sojourn around South America, I was excited to hear that a new Mexicana restaurant had opened up in Garema Place, The Beach Burrito Company. Originally from Bondi, Sydney the chain has since sprouted a few franchises around the place.
My brother and I decided to hit up Beach Burrito Company one Wednesday evening before a movie at Dendy. We arrived about 5:15pm to a deserted restaurant. The interior of Beach Burrito is florescent, bold and interesting. There are a lot of sugar skulls, including an awesome chandelier made with skull skateboard. Despite the odd bright light, the space is dimly lit (hence the crappy photos). I actually really liked it, but it might be a bit too “lary” for some of the more laid back people I know. The music, crappy techno, is also up really loud.
We had to change seats because their booths are made for skinny peoples, which I am not. I actually saw a few parties move out of the booths to the normal tables for the same reason – uncool.
The menu is large and comprehensive, although not as adventurous as I was hoping. You take a seat and order at the counter, where you’re given a table number. We ordered Jalapeno Poppers for entrée and a mix of Tacos for mains. We ordered the tacos as two of the 3 x Tacos for (can’t remember) special, but we ended up deciding on the same fillings.
The Jalapeno Poppers come in a plastic basket, and they’re big and there’s a few of them – good for sharing. Sadly they are practically tasteless, with not even a hint of heat. It’s pretty much just a tasteless jalapeno that’s been cleaned out, stuffed with sour cream and then coated in bread crumbs. It’s served with a sour cream/tomato concoction which gives it a little more flavour, but still no heat. Booo. I like my chillies hot, mamasita!
The tacos came out in three separate baskets –two tacos of the same filling to a basket. We ordered the Pibli Pork (Pibli pork with frijoles, shredded cabbage, chipotle mayonnaise, chilli salt and coriander), Chipotle Chicken (Char grilled Chicken, frijoles, pico de gallo, blended cheese, smokey salsa, guacamole, sour cream, chilli salt and coriander) and the Pulled Seasoned Beef (slow roasted beef, frijoles, lettuce, blended cheese, green onion, smokey salsa, guacamole, sour cream, chilli salt). As you can see, the tacos are pretty hard to share, especially when they don’t give you plates or anything other than the baskets. Even harder to share when the tacos go so soggy they break apart at the bottom and half the ingredients fall back in to the basket. I ended up with food all over me.
I gotta say, I was not impressed with these tacos. The tortillas were floury (despite being gluten free) and had no taste. And not only were they so full that you couldn’t fit them in your mouth (and so full they fell apart) – I don’t understand how something with so many ingredients can taste so boring and bland. In hindsight, I should have put some of the habanero sauce provided on the table, on all of them…but you shouldn’t have to do that… The beef taco just tasted like lettuce and soggy beef (with no spices or flavour), and I couldn’t even tell which one was chicken and which one was pork – the flavours were not strong enough. The chicken one did have some pico de gallo on it, which meant it had a little bit more flavour than the other two, but I was still missing any kind of heat (isn’t pico supposed to have chilli in it?).
We were going to get Churros for dessert, because I am a churro fiend – but we were so disappointed with our meals that we just walked out.
There’s no service to speak of at Beach Burrito, you order at the bar and they bring you your food with no fuss. It’s not bad service, it’s more of a “what it says on the box” type service.
Verdict: If you like your Mexican food bland and unspicy – then you’ll probably like this place. I, however, wish we’d gone to Guzman y Gomez.