Taco Bell (Ghatkopar, Mumbai)

It’s not good, it’s not the real thing but it’s fast, clean, consistent and cheap. Taco Bell is the American export by Yum! one of the world’s largest restaurant operators, which also runs the KFC & Pizza Hut brands. A brief look at the assembly line (read Kitchen) reveals all the hallmarks of an average Multi-National QSR (quick service restaurant): stainless steel counters, holding pans, an electronic order system and impeccable cleanliness.

One of the surprises is the Diet Pepsi on tap – a rare sight in India. It seems the “diet beverage” and “post mix” revolution has not caught on India, with very few places doing post-mix diet beverages (i.e from the fountain vs can/bottle), common in other markets. The problem in India with post-mix systems is that one has to be mindful of the cleanliness of the dispensing mechanism and the propriety of the water supply. These concerns aside, there is no denying that post-mix carbonated drinks with ice are far superior in taste to the often metallic tasting canned varieties.

On to the food, if you can dodge the false cheesy sauce on the Fiesta Potatoes and the excessive amounts of generic chipotle smeared everywhere, the finished articles are pleasant. The chipotle veg burrito cleverly uses soya mince which makes a change from the standard paneer and potato wraps. At around 450 kcal and less than INR 100, it’s hardly going to break the bank or leave you with any buyer’s remorse. The quesadillas won’t be substantial for the gluttons out there , but the cheese is passable and the vegetables fresh. Those with a large appetite may try the whopping 850 kcal 7 layer buritto, loaded with everything but the kitchen sink, including rice, paneer, salad and potatoes. The double veg crunchy wrap is also novel, incorporating the crunch of taco shell with the softness of a wrap.

In a stroke of good fortune, I have also managed to acquire a Buy 1, get 1 50% card, so if any chindi folk want to line the Connoisseur up for a date with destiny, you know where to take him!

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