The Arc: Vegetarian Nachos vs Chicken Fajita Nachos

Place: The Arc, Torrens St, Angel 

One place. Two nachos. One vegetarian, one not vegetarian. You know when there’s a child and his brother is more talented and loved than him? Yeah, that. With more emotion involved, obviously.

Nachos Mexicana (£6.95): Fajita spiced chicken, pepper and red onion, mature Cheddar, guacemole, soured cream, salsa. Picture doesn’t do them justice as phone was attached to wall via phone charger so couldn’t reach.

Nachos (£5.95): cheddar, guacemole, soured cream, salsa. NB: contains significantly less cheese and not nearly as much sauce as the above. Also, you won’t get as big a portion. Photo does them too much justice as had unplugged phone by this point. 

The Nachos Mexicana had much more cheese, grated and warmed, leaving it almost erotically stringy. They had to be eaten with a fork which, though controversial, proves the existence of some fantastic sauce coverage.

The Nachos (v) had cheese glued to the triangles like a child clinging to a disinterested parent (children overcompensate when a parent doesn’t give them as much love as their elder siblings) and were a minefield of bald chos. Holding each other like children sobbing in daycare, bonded by overly sweet salsa and cheese adhesive, the chef didn’t care- letting them sit there on the plate, embarrassed by their own failure. Doing nothing. God it makes me mad.

But what of the chips? They, on both plates, tasted suspiciously similar to the Tesco Value tortillas, leaving a salty, tearful aftertaste. At least the Nachos Mexicana had some quality pepper and onion action to make up for this, though.

Why not try taking the child out to the cinema to show him how much you care? You can even get vouchers if you’re a bit hard up. Or do an Orange Wednesday? That’d be nice wouldn’t it? Sorry, I’m getting sidetracked.

So, The Arc, you may do wonderful pizzas (including buy-one- get- one-free-deal at lunchtimes) but take more care with your vegetarian chos. We’re malnourished, anaemic, and notice such things. If anything, take more care, because we’re often left to deal with subpar food and can’t have steaks which is really irritating sometimes.

It’s unacceptable that, as a vegetarian, I must order a chicken nachos without the chicken in order to get a satisfactory plate o’cho. That’s like ordering order a burger minus the burger plus macaroni cheese in order to get quality pasta.

Also, if you’re a parent, make sure you lavish enough attention on both your children. It’s important.

Ultimate London Nacho: Obviously not the vegetarian nachos. I’ve had better in Wetherspoons. However, the Nachos Mexicana were pretty cool- but the quality of the chips let them down. 3. 

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Ultimate London Nacho: The Beehive

Place: The Beehive, Vauxhall

As Sophocles once said: “There’s nothing more satisfying than nachos and bees.”

Sadly, The Beehive chos priced at £4.50 and sampled by Nachoist Katy from Londonfood4afiver appear, at first glance, more wasplike (wasps are bald. See, the analogy works)

  Just look at the cheese adhesive and inevitable mass clumping. Oh Beehive, why don’t you stick to what you do best? Which is… layering apparently. Oh hello curveball.

For the first time in Ultimate London Nacho history, we’ve hit upon the goldmine of the tex mex world. Yes, The Beehive layer their cheese throughout their chos. Oh stop I’ve come over all emotional. I’m crying. I’M CRYING ALL OVER THE BEES.

Quote from Katy: “The cheese layering was exquisite. Everytime I thought there was no more cheese, more appeared…”

Unfortunately the guac tasted like toothpaste which proves maybe you can’t have it all. Everytime a chef gets it right, they balance it out with something incredibly wrong. Like Colgate. The rule of thumb is, if you add mint to guacamole, it becomes GuacaNO. And it’s just a bit weird, really.

One day… one day…

Ultimate London Nacho? Sadly not due to bizarre mint guac, but the layering definitely brings it up to a commendable level: 3.5/5

Layering Cheese on Nachos

It’s a much talked about topic in the fact that nobody talks about it. But I think they should.

Yes, that’s right. The distribution of cheese on Nachos. As the wonderful Joe from London Food 4 A Fiver once said: “I’ve layered the cheese throughout so there won’t be any hairless nachos”

He said this after making some great candid chos. Unfortunately, the picture is unavailable.

Presumably he meant Bald Chos, but regardless of this terminology issue, he had unknowingly hit on a cho goldmine.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the world: layer your cheese. Not only does it eradicate the weird wasteland effect you often get when working through your triangle mountain, but it keeps things interesting. There’s nothing better than being surprised by your own food. Couple this with relish distribution, and you’re away. By relish distribution, I refer to the act of blobbing bits of relish all over the dish, as opposed to three separate large blobs. It’s a technical art.

While we’re on this note, the Ultimate London Nacho (or possibly Ultimate Global Nacho) would also involve layering of relish too. Joe only went for layered cheese, but just think what could have been achieved if he’d gone that extra mile.

Unfortunately he microwaved the crap out the chos, resulting in cheese adhesive but you can’t have everything.

Ultimate London Nacho: The George Inn

Place: The George Inn, London Bridge

If you want a bit of Shard with your chos, then The George can’t be beaten. Mainly because it’s next to The Shard. At £5.95, the chef was clearly enthusiastic about the jalapenos, but not much else. The whole experience was so dull I will have to use tenuous similes to liven things up. 

They were similar to how I imagine licking The Shard would be like. Yeah, it looks good but it’s a bit cold. And tasteless. And a building.

At first glance the Big Four distribution is damn good. The salsa was Saint Paul’s Cathedral, actually. The sour cream was, as ever, St Pauls tube station. Absolutely necessary, but you’re never going to get overly excited about it because it’s sour cream. The guacamole was a back alley in Whitechapel. It should be fine, because it’s in east London and that’s cool, yeah? But it’s dodgy. You can’t escape that. 

Add that to the non-existent cheese, and the fact the chos were cold, resulting in Mass Clumping due to Cheese Adhesive and you’ve got a dish that can only ever provoke the words “yeah” and “alright” and “oh I can’t separate each individual, cheaply made tortilla chip and my mouth is cold and the guac tastes like Whitechapel”

All in all, a fairly dull experience.

Ultimate London Nacho? No. So run-of-the-mill I had to talk about tube stations 2.5/5 

The Ultimate London Nacho: The Camden Head

Place: The Camden Head, Camden Passage (Islington)

If this was a dating site and I fancied nachos, I would have private messaged these. And worn a really revealing dress on the first date.


Then found them to be a little cold if well adorned, Caeser-like, in the sun soaked beer garden of The Camden Head. Surrounded by laughing couples and a guy with no teeth. Who was alone. But that’s irrelevant (if poignant and telling).

Anyway, the small nachos (pictured) were £4.20 and, while it was a little plate, the mountain was Everest. The relish was delicious too, although the jalapenos tasted like Dettol which was bizarre if, awkwardly, slightly pleasant. Unfortunately, the Everest proportions meant the mountain was quite cold, and there was a lot of pulling and tugging to get the chos with the cheese which had solidified, clinging to the chips like a child clinging to, you know, some chips.

However, distribution and amount of the Big Four was pleasing and the use of chilli Doritos, while not homemade or requiring any effort whatsoever, meant that I was almost actively searching for Bald Chos by the end. Almost. I know. Shoot me.

Overall I think this was a positive experience (bar slightly plasticky and cold cheese) and I plan to give him a second date. It, sorry.

The moral? Seasoned chips work well in nachos and if you have no teeth, you’ll probably be alone. Also, profile pictures can look inviting but the person in question might turn out to be cold, if well dressed.

Ultimate London Nacho? If they were warmer I might be tempted to give them a 4. Will have to try the larger nachos in order to fully rule out The Camden Head. For now, 3.5/5.

Ultimate London Nacho: Subway

Place: Subway, Leicester Square

Oh god. It’s happened. For the first time in my life I was unable to eat a plate (or rather, box) of nachos (£1.59 Subway)

When the guy behind the  counter ask me if I wanted any sauce on them I knew it was going to be bad. Yes, good sir, I would like sauce. Without sauce, these are an array of tortilla chips in a box. Oh, it’s just salsa? That’s the only sauce you are going to put on my nachos? Well it had better be the sort of salsa that makes the angels sing, that’s all I’m going to say my fine fellow. Oh, yes I’ll have some jalapenos. Goodbye

MRPPH.

That is the sound I made upon chewing the first chip.

……

That is the sound I made upon sampling the other chips. BECAUSE I DIDN’T HAVE ANY OTHER CHIPS.

These are indeed nachos that would make angels sing. Sing while crying and trapping their heads in the boot of a car. The tortilla chips were chewy, as if they’d been left in a cupboard, opened, for too long. The salsa was tasteless, and overly salty. The cheese was, once again, welded to the chos and the side of the box after being microwaved for far too long while I, blocked by the counter, was forced to stand and watch. It was like that bit in the Green Mile where the guy stamps on the mouse and everyone is shocked and repulsed. To top it all off, the box was soggy with condensation and after a few minutes this transferred to the chos themselves. Chewy, soggy, salty tortilla chips welded to bits of cardboard. I ate the jalapenos instead, which were fine if clearly mortified by the indignity of it all.

Ultimate London Nacho? I’m not qualifying this with a response. Subway, you should be absolutely and utterly ashamed of yourself. 0.5/5 (I felt sorry for the jalapenos)

Taco Bell Introduce “Doritos Taco Locos”

American chain Taco Bell have  begun testing tacos with shells made from nacho-flavoured Doritos.
They’re called the Doritos Taco Locos, like Ricky Martin’s 1999 smash hit but with more Loco(a) and less Camp Gyration. But Ricky aside, what’s going on? Nacho flavoured tacos isn’t wrong, it’s just a bit… incestuous. Like making a toast sandwich. Or mixing ketchup and HP sauce. Or getting it on with a blood relative.

Consumerist.com has video footage of a customer testing out this nacho-taco hybrid and apparently it’s quite good. Which is what cousins who marry say. Incest aside, this does show how advanced and gutsy the Americans are, nachoally, compared with us. The UK needs to be a bit more ballsy. Treat the cho like a blank canvas waiting to be splattered with, y’know, interesting things. But is interbreeding the way forward? Personally, before anyone gets creative, I think the UK should start focussing on perfecting the art of making normal nachos (thinly veiled dig at nacho quality in Britain).

In the meantime, here’s some light-hearted humour from twitter:

@Katharyn Hodgkins: What do you call cheese that isn’t yours? Nacho Cheese

OH KATHARYN YOU’RE SUCH AN OUTRAGEOUS JEST-BANDIT.