Review: Chipotle’s Attempt at Ethical Fast Food

You got stuck in work late. Your train was delayed by an hour. It pissed down on the way home, your hair is ruined and your pumps are soaked through and starting to smell like musty old washrags. All of the above.

Some days, we all need a big, fat take-away.

Luckily, I happen to live just down the road from a Chipotle Mexican Grill – a fast food burrito joint with a difference. They specialise in what they call ‘food with integrity.’ Although this sounds a little schmaltzy (we can’t hold it against them, they’re American) it basically means that wherever possible, they will use local suppliers, use meat from animals raised under higher welfare standards, and support sustainable practices. Though they are not able to promise that all of their meat is free-range or organic, in many ways, their mission statement reminds me a lot of my own personal relationship with ethical food – not perfect, but definitely trying. And I’m all for supporting steps in the right direction, and in this case, voting with my wallet.

I visited the brand spanking new restaurant on Wimbledon Hill on a Sunday, and was a little surprised to find it rather empty. (Surely a brick made of meat, beans and cheese is the best way to cure a hangover?) Undeterred, I approached the counter and ordered my own personal combination of fillings – it’s the same conveyor belt set-up as Subway, like a burrito pick ‘n’ mix.

After a bit of deliberation, I went for a salad bowl – romaine lettuce topped with my preferred combination of rice, beans, cheese, salsa, and vinaigrette. It was filling, deliciously tasty, and not too sloppy (no one likes to get caught with bean juice dribbling down their chin, after all).I chose the medium salsa, and found it to be very mild, so would probably opt for the hot next time. The boy on the other hand opted for hot salsa on a classic free range pork burrito, with a side of fresh, chunky guacamole which you could scoop up as required. Again, it was juicy and flavoursome, but held together well and wasn’t a complete nightmare to wrap your lips around.


The cost of a decent meal and a couple of drinks came to about £15. It’s not somewhere I’d recommend for a date, but it’s a bargain for a night when you just need some reliable comfort food.

P.S. If you’re interested, you can read more about their founder Steve on their US website. He has even previously testified before congress in the US, to try to eliminate the use of antibiotics in dairy farming. Food for thought indeed!


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