Vendor of the Week: Benito's Hat
Little more than an independent food chain back in 2008, Benito’s Hat has slowly risen to fame in London with over six restaurants across the capital. The fact they have kept their authentic style and flavour means they are more than worthy to be featured as a City Pantry vendor of the week and their food is now ready for you to enjoy from the comfort of your desk.
One day, Ben Fordham, founder of Benito’s Hat, had a dream to open a Mexican restaurant when living in Texas and discovering what Mexican food should be. From hole‐in‐the‐wall canteens with plastic chairs to fine‐dining restaurants, it was all a far cry from what was then being served up in London as Mexican food. The casual, fresh burrito and taco bars was the concept that impressed him most and the one that seemed best suited to London. Shortly after returning to London, Ben started moonlighting at a Mexican restaurant in East London while continuing to work as a lawyer. There he met Felipe who later became business partner and Executive Chef of Benito’s Hat when it began in 2008.
Felipe Fuentes Cruz was born in Puebla, Mexico in 1970. He and his eight brother and sisters often had to lend his mother and grandmother a hand when it came to putting food on the table. At 19, he emigrated to the USA where he began his restaurant life. He worked in several restaurants, gradually progressing up from kitchen porter to the role of head chef running restaurant kitchens, when in 2006 he decided to move to London. A little over a year later, Felipe was working in a Mexican restaurant when Ben Fordham walked in. They instantly found common ground in their passion for Mexican food. Together with Ben, he also written a cookbook, Real Mexican Food, which has sold over 25,000 copies worldwide and been translated in to five languages.
As for the food, Benito’s Hat has dedicated itself to serving simple, fresh food that was both authentic and modern. The simple menu is built around burritos and tacos. Felipe creates a seasonally changing menu delivering classic favourites and exciting innovations.
Baby Burrito Feast available for £8 per person.