In all the time writing restaurant reviews, I’ve never had to walk out of somewhere.
At worst, you get bad food and choose to never go back but being so annoyed with the food that you immediately leave is rare. So today was a first.
I headed into Saburritos on Dame Street absolutely ravenous and keen to try out a fairly new burrito joint. The good thing with this sort of fast, casual Mexican food is that it is pretty hard to mess it up. But, by God, did they do that with my meal.
The warning signs were there from the start, with the staff taking beans out of vac-packed bags, pouring water from a kettle into them and stirring them up like a big bowl of gruel right in front of the customers.
Next came a huge bag of chicken, which was emptied out having already been mixed with sauce. This sort of food preparation is pretty standard but seeing your chicken and beans coming out of plastic bags doesn’t inspire confidence with the regular punter.
The whole ordering process was a massive pain in the arse, mainly because the place was full of tourists as a result of its proximity to Temple Bar.
Unlike the Irish burrito public, the whole notion of guac costing extra was a new concept to them all and needed explaining, amid much brow raising and confusion for each of them.
The choice of salsas seemed like the 30-second Countdown Conundrum as they turned confused to their partners and generally faffed about like people rightly do when they are on holidays.
After what seemed like 20 minutes of losing the will to live, I sat down with my food.
I loved the idea that you could get chips with the burrito and had visions of dunking them into oozing cheese and spicy beef. That was all well and good until I tasted the chips. Cold, undercooked and greasy.
Pushing them to one side, I thought to myself “at least I still have the fajita’.
However, if the chips were bad, the sloppy, greasy mess that was pretending to be Mexican food was worse again. It was as if the fajita had literally come along, sat on the plate and decided to shit itself. A big unholy mess.
I had two mouthfuls and sat there gathering my thoughts for a minute. All I could think was to go and get a knife and fork. I returned with renewed confidence that I could at least get the food into my mouth with my newly found eating implements.
I couldn’t. The wet wrap kept sliding off the fork and I looked like a fisherman trying to a take a picture of his slippery catch.
I was absolutely starving and had been excited about lunch all morning after getting up at 6am. I could either soldier on eating the calamitous mess of a meal that was in front of me or battle up through the queue of tourists to demand a refund or a better meal. To be honest, I couldn’t face it.
I chose instead to walk straight across the road to Crackbird.
It wasn’t a case of me being a drama queen because I’ve never done this before, but I just physically couldn’t bring myself to eat what had been served up.
I was actually tempted to go into the Spar on the corner and get a toothbrush to wash that taste straight out of my mouth. I love burritos as much as the next man or woman but that’s put me right off them for a while.