There I was minding my own business when my friend said to me:
'Hey, there's this Indian burrito place opening up in town, you should check it out.'
'Indian burrito?' I retorted, 'That sounds a bit odd, I'm not sure about that.'
'But they're really nice' piped in the makers of the Indian burritos, 'you should try one.'
'Yeah, but it's a burrito filled with curry' I said, 'does sound a bit weird though you've got to admit.'
'Perhaps, but they are dead tasty, come down and see for yourself.'
Yeah, yeah, that's basically what happened.
So I did, and despite their generous invitation, I managed to miss the launch day but catch their lunch service the following day. Based in Midsummer Place (where Ed's used to be), Wrapchic has a shanty shack theme, although I suspect it's a very designed and carefully constructed theme which is no bad thing depending on how you look at it. It's a note of difference (even a small one) in this, the most chained of restaurant chained towns and therefore should be welcomed.
Mrs P. and I wasted no time and joined the queue for this latest entry to the cantine style, fast service, lunchtime offer. Yes, there was a queue, when all the other lunch services in the square were slack and over staffed. Wrapchic was attracting enough attention to maintain a wait for food throughout the time it took us to eat our lunch.
So what was on offer? While waiting, we were invited to take a drink and pud/snack from the open fridge and I was really pleased to see that healthy options were placed front and centre.
I took a smooth and luxurious strawberry lassi while Mrs P. decided to ingest half of her entire daily sugar intake with a can of Passionfruit Rubicon. We also picked up a pot of coconut pannacotta. A closer look at the drink flavours showed some more 'interesting' options such as apple and cucumber or apple and beetroot. Hmmm, maybe next time.
Onwards to the burritos we went and I ordered a Mutton Madrasi with brown rice, cheese and salad.
Whereas Mrs P. had a Chicken Mughlai wrap with cheese, coleslaw and salad.
Quite frankly, I was surprised at just how much I liked them. They were really tasty and as a quick weekend shopping lunch time filler-upper they were fresh, the right side of spicy and generous. It wasn't completely fun-filled-fairy-cakes though, take it from me; don't have the cheese. There was nothing inherently wrong with it, but as other bloggers have also noted no-one needs processed cheddar cheese on their curry. However, as it's entirely optional if you choose it, it's your own fault.
The curries were both good and distinct, the mutton is worth particular mention because not only was it tasty and full flavoured, but anything that brings mutton to a wider audience is worth supporting. Mutton has a developed and specific flavour that is reminiscent of lamb but still individual and if you feel squeemish about giving it a go, then you should probably know that you've probably already had it at any one of your bland/non-descript Indian takeaways. Anyone for a 'meat' curry? I'm glad that Wrapchic embrace the mutton because more should be done to bring it to the British public, it's really tasty and lamb is only half the story. Mutton is cheap and delicious, plus it makes the best shepherds pie you've ever tasted.
Mrs P.'s chicken tikka was a little more average but had a welcome warming heat to it that you wouldn't find at other popular lunch orientated on-the-go food kiosks. And coupled with the other options available here in the food court it seems like a hands down preference.
Our sides were a slightly more hit and miss affair, the wraposas had sold out so we went with the tikka wings and wrapchos. Now far be it from me to say that I know my way around a bowl of nachos, but it has to be said that I've had some experience on the matter and I'm afraid that these didn't quite work it for me. They were simply overwhelmed by the sauces (of both guacamole and sour varieties) and in the end became just a bit of a soggy mess. I understand why they are on the menu (it's Indian and Mexican food, gettit?) but this isn't the same standard of fusion that the rest of the meal promised.
The chicken wings faired better and brought the Indian flavours back to the meal but it was a shame that they relied a bit too heavily on a English-ised tikka coating rather than a tandoor style but I suspect there would be considerable logistical issues to standardising this. Still, they were decent value and benefitted from the good spice blend of flavour that is consistent across the other parts of the menu so I'm sure they'll be popular.
We finished up with the coconut panna cotta and although the coconut was mild, creamy and cooling after the curry, the regulated and uniform pud was just a bit too jellied without enough soft oozing for me. As a coconut milk jelly though, it tasted lovely.
In short, despite the winners and losers, there is no doubt that with their standard offering, Wrapchic is mass market fusion done well, in fact it's probably the best I've eaten. Haute cuisine it ain't, but as an attempt to bring proper, different and real flavour to your fast food lunch-to-go, I'm pleased it surprised me and I've no doubt that this particular store will happily take more of my cash in the near future.
I may have been invited to try Wrapchic but the views expressed here are very much my own.