There’s a new chain in town, and honestly I felt a little conflicted about reviewing it here! Right in the middle of Cornmarket and embedded in the Clarendon Centre, Tortilla offers fast-food style Mexican food ‘mixed with some Californian inspiration’. It was super busy when we visited, and we were hurried through a Subway-style production line with a different member of staff assembling each section of our meal. I felt a bit rushed and found the ordering experience kind of stressful because it was so busy, but perhaps this was because it was a preview night. That said, we have walked past at lunch times before and seen queues out of the door so I think I’d probably avoid coming in here at peak times.
I will always opt for a burrito, it’s just a complete meal which I know will fill me up. A regular is perfect for lunch, or a large for dinner, and they are actually a pretty healthy and well-balanced meal option, as fast food goes. I got it filled with pulled jackfruit, black beans, mild salsa, and guacamole. The jackfruit had a reasonable amount of spice to it so it gave the whole burrito a bit of a kick. It’s certified by the vegan society which is awesome. I feel like you can’t really go too wrong with salsa and guac in a burrito, and altogether it tasted great.
Jamie ordered tacos, which he also had filled with the pulled jackfruit (there is also a chargrilled vegetable option), but went with the pinto beans and medium spice salsa toppings for the sake of difference. They tasted pretty good but I felt this wouldn’t be as satisfying of a meal for me compared to the burrito, though maybe it’s a psychological thing. It just looks like you’re eating a bit less food. Also it’s super messy to eat, there’s no real way to eat these politely, and I don’t really like the feeling of the liquids dripping down my hand. Still, you really can’t complain at the price point that they’re at, and if you’re happy to get your hands dirty this is also a very decent lunch option.
We also got a bag of tortilla chips with some dips to share. Maybe I’m easily pleased but I loved these! They were the perfect snack, warm and crispy, with plenty of salt. The guacamole was nice enough but the salsa on the side was so tasty. It had an enormous amount of raw onion so I might not recommend it for date night, and be warned you’ll be tasting it for the next two days, but it was just so fresh and zingy with the tomato and herbs, delicious with the crunchy chips. They’re definitely superior to a bag of Doritos from the supermarket and I’d happily pay the little extra for it.
All in all I have to say I enjoyed our visit to Tortilla more than I wanted to. I want to continue to support Mission Burrito which has been trading in Oxford for way longer, they still only have a small handful of branches, and are more embedded in our community (although it does say on Tortilla’s website “We’re not part of a multi-franchise nor some big soulless restaurant group” which makes me feel a bit less guilty about opting to eat there). Sadly though, I went to Mission Burrito shortly after our visit to Tortilla, and it just wasn’t as good! The veggie filling was pretty watery, the service wasn’t great, and it was actually more expensive. I remember going as a student and loving it so I don’t know if my tastes have just grown or if it’s gone a bit downhill. It’s certified by the vegan society which is fab, but I probably wouldn’t go there regularly as I think it’d get boring quite quickly. Anyway, I recommend trying them both out and seeing what you think!
This meal was complimentary, the review is an honest account of the experience.