Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Making A Mighty Mexican Meal In Benito’s Hat, Central London

By Sophie Marie Atkinson.

God dang it, they've done it again. Those pesky masterminds behind Mexican fast-food chain, Benito’s Hat, have come up with another genius way to entice us punters through their doors to stuff our greedy little faces full of their delicious grub.

Only this time their plan may not be entirely fool-proof [cue evil laugh] for they intend to teach us mere mortals how to make said tasty grub [stage whispers] *in our own homes*.

Or so we thought. Thankfully, for the likes of Ben Fordham – the brains behind the outfit – and his trusty side-kick/head chef Felipe Fuentes Cruz, the task at hand – preparing salsa, tortillas and watermelon margaritas from scratch – proved to be a tad more difficult than us foodies had anticipated and ended with some, ahem, interesting consequences.

Throughout the evening, which took place in the basement of the Oxford Circus branch of Benito’s Hat, both Ben and Felipe took it turns to walk us through the recipes and techniques and were there to offer a helping hand when required (or when bickering broke out amongst team members). We were split into two groups and instructed to create our own dishes, based on the prior demonstrations, but with a twist.

And twist these recipes we certainly did. I was part of the more, erm, avant-garde team and there is a teeny-tiny chance that perhaps *some* of us got a bit power crazy (*whistles and stares at the ceiling*).

We kicked off with the salsa, and decided to mix it up a bit, mushing together guacamole, cooked onions, green tomatoes and chilies with a shed-load of coriander and lime juice. I, we, I mean we, thought the end result was epic, although the judges didn’t necessarily agree.

Then it was cocktail time. Again, going against the grain (read: with complete disregard for the human palette), we decided to throw caution, or tequila, to the wind and make a savory cocktail. Like a Bloody Mary. But much spicier. And with tequila. And much more vile. Once again, Felipe watched in horror, but ended up fairly impressed with the end result (either that or by this point he was just too terrified to critique us and instead opted for the ‘smile and make yummy noises’ technique adopted by parents of young children who insist on making them breakfast in bed).

The tortillas, however, were a different story entirely. By this point, fairly pissed and completely hysterical, we decided to bastardise Felipe’s recipe by adding cheese and coriander. To outstanding results, so-much-so that I, I mean we, threatened to patent them and fully expect to find them on the menu soon.
Slightly-bizarre results aside, the night was a hoot, and I wouldn’t hesitate to head back for more lessons. And further hysteria. I left armed with a goodie bag and a handful of tips that, despite the vast quantities of tequila consumed, seem to have stuck in my mind a couple of weeks later. And thanks to the quality and volume of food served throughout, I also left with the top button of my jeans undone. I’m all class, me.

1 comment: