Chipotle: An Allergy-Conscious Mexican Grill

Growing up in a part-Latin American household meant many a quesadilla lunch and unmissable taco nights. I have great memories of my parents hosting Mexican dinner parties when I was little and while I couldn’t drink the margaritas, I could definitely soak up the atmosphere and then sneak food to my room. I wasn’t worried about not being able to eat Mexican food again once I found out I couldn’t eat gluten however, given traditional Mexican cuisine is virtually gluten free if flour tortillas are avoided. This was not the case in many Mexican-themed western restaurants though, and I found many eateries to be unnecessarily lacing components of the cuisine with gluten containing ingredients.

US-based Chipotle, which has been in the UK for seven years now has proven itself as an exception to the rule. The Mexican eatery has introduced an allergy-friendly way to dine and has simultaneously gained gluten free accreditation from Coeliac UK for all of its sites in London. “Eat to Your Own Beat” – a personalised food selection tool on their website – was introduced at the end of May and I was lucky enough to be at the company’s Soho branch to celebrate with fellow foodies and gluten free bloggers alike.

The interactive tool helps users see exactly what combinations are possible, whatever the dietary requirement – be it gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian, vegan, paleo or even high protein. To make your meal completely gluten free however, you must only avoid the flour tortilla which is used to make a traditional burrito. Everything else is guaranteed gluten free, even the tortilla chips! For those of you need meal inspiration, the tool suggests several combinations based on your dietary requirement. Those of you gluten freers are recommended to try Chipotle’s chicken salad, barbacoa bowl or steak crispy corn tacos, while dairy-free eaters should give the chicken burrito, steak soft flour tacos or carnitas salad a go!

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On the night of the launch, I opted for a tortilla-free burrito bowl with all the trimmings and I most certainly did not hold back. I ate my delicious rice and black bean-based bowl with complete ease after watching the staff prepare my meal in-front of me, who always make a point of using new plastic gloves to serve allergy sufferers to avoid cross-contamination. I picked a combination of the tender steak and chicken, topped with tomatillo green chilli salsa, roasted chilli corn salsa, guacamole, cheese and plenty of sour cream. This was all washed down with a delicious round (or two) of the Chipotle house-made Margaritas, which come highly recommended!

A big thank you and a cheers to Chipotle – not only am I dying to come back and try even more combinations, but I’m grateful for the opportunity you gave me to meet fellow gluten-freers. Until next time!

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Pictured: @theglutenfreebunn, @thesightseeingcoeliac and @glutenfreealex_
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