The delicious waft of an international food chain was launched with oomph at the recent opening of Taco Bell at 36, Horton Place, Colombo 07. The only missing link was the sound of Mariachi and a Mexican hat. It would have had toes tapping and more calls for tacos. However, the buzz continues to grow with rounds of nachos, chalupas, quesadillas not to mention burritos all making an indelible stamp on the palettes of Sri Lankans.
Winning the unspoken people’s choice award for ‘hottest new place to check out right now’ TacoBell launched in Sri Lanka to offer Lankans the chance to ‘Live Mas’ (Live More). TacoBell is an American chain of Mexican-inspired fast food restaurants with over 6,000 branches across 22 countries worldwide.
As expected, curios and hungry patrons flooded into TacoBell as soon as the doors opened at 11am. The hype, at least for now, shows no signs of letting up, with the place almost completely full an hour later. Any sort of tete-a-tete at TacoBell is highly discouraged, as their loud music drowns out any conversation.
Cheese lovers can go the entire length by selecting the Cheesy Double Decker Taco with Fajita Chicken (Rs.500)
This Taco consisted of an inner crunchy Tortilla (corn flatbread) filled with sauces, Pinto beans (a popular large red legume in the US in dishes such as chile-con-carne), lettuce, Fajita (grilled) chicken, a layer of cheese sauce and an outer shell of a softer Tortilla (flour flatbread) holding it all together. An enjoyable blend of both crunchy and soft, fresh lettuce, thick golden cream cheese – a real palate delight – complimented this Taco well. The texture of the chicken however was barely noticeable with everything else going on here, failing to either add or take away from the experience, reduced to simply a meat filling. Overall however this was a satisfying Taco with the crunch and cheese sauce doing most of the work.
Crispy Chicken Chalupa (Rs.370)
A fried chicken breast in the shape of a taco shell enveloping lettuce, cheese and a smokey chipotle sauce. The chicken was firm and not at all greasy – there’s certainly something lost in terms of the fluffy-flakiness factor. However, it was seasoned quite well and it holds its shape throughout the eating process. The thickness of the shell is also done right – no bite is too vegetable-heavy and you certainly don’t feel like you’re eating a cricket ball made of chicken. The cheese is always a nice touch and the sprinkle of it on top gets a little melty from the warmth of the chicken.
Cheesy Nachos (Rs.340)
The snack made of corn Tortilla chips fried or baked sprinkled with onions and tomatoes, slathered in that uplifting cheese sauce, certainly looked appetizing, yet biting into a crunchy chip on its own without the veggies and sauce – proved either too randomly salty or entirely void of flavor. The chips were merely the carrier for the cheese sauce or the choice of topping.
California Tan (Rs.200)
Beer lovers, this one might be for you when you can’t be drinking on the job. However tasting remarkably similar to beer, yet a non-alcoholic beverage, it lacked both froth which we have to admit makes an authentic beer experience after all and kick. Cold, refreshing and great tasting though? Check, check, check!
Anyone who has been to Pilawoos would agree that TacoBell’s Chocodilla is pretty similar to their Chocolate Rotti – only a tiny bit appetizing and presentable than the Pilawoos version. The Chocodilla is a very light “dessert” that anyone can gobble up in seconds. We would’ve preferred if the chocolate was oozing out of the rotti or if there was a more generous serving of chocolate, but we still feel that it’s worth the price.
-Fair warning on the Dips/ Sauces-
TO put in plain – most of the optional sauces are either seriously HOT and/ or anxiety inducing. We were asked to selected three dips along with the nachos we ordered, to which we opted for sour cream, spicy salsa and smokey chipotle. The sour cream was the winner for us as it was versatile enough to compliment anything we tried it with, particularly the nachos.
Great value for money!
Lots of variety
Eat the tacos quickly or it all gets soggy fast
The music was overwhelmingly loud, although the ambiance was great.