Rita's is doing 'dirty' food, that ever trendier, ever popular 'cuisine'. It's everywhere, being done to various degrees of success (Success: Pitt Cue, Epic fail: Wishbone). Rita's as you will probably have heard is way way at the top end of the scale.
It's simple food but it is terribly effective. I tweeted shortly after my meal that I'd had the best chicken burger I've ever had and that was no word of a lie.
The chicken burger arrives in a brown paper bag which is gimmicky but still fun. It's certainly got some heft to it once you take it out of the bag due to the slightly sweet yet quite dense brioche bun. On a bed of lettuce with a mayo sauce that had a hell of a kick, the burger itself, made of a battered chicken thigh lies. Conjure up in your mind all the great words to associate with good chicken and you'll be spot on. Juicy, succulent, well flavoured. All of that. Tender? Mouthwatering? Yeah, add those too. It was just a shame there wasn't a bit more of the actual meat. I missed it once it was gone.
We also ordered a side of macaroni cheese to split. And that was great too! Most of my experiences with mac n cheese have been ubercheesy, heavy creamy dishes hence deciding to share. But this was done with an incredibly light touch. And on top a fresh salsa that was almost like a mousse. It was gorgeous.
Before that we'd chosen some bacon brittle from the snack menu. It was a bit too sweet to fulfill the role of a starter but in and of itself it was a tasty thing to consume. The bacon worked the way salt does in chocolate and caramel - counters the sweetness and gives it a depth of flavour. Would love to be able to buy bags of that to eat. I'm a big brittle fan.
And then, finally, we had to share a dessert of course - chocolate pie with clotted cream. Stephen thought they skimped on the cream, I thought the pie didn't even need it - it was an added luxury when the pie itself was so light and yet full of flavour. It was like eating a mousse in pastry.
Add to that a couple of reasonably priced drinks (mine a frozen 'rita at £6.50 - one of the cheapest cocktails I've had in a long while, his a beer) and it was a no-muss-no-fuss yet hugely satisfying meal. I'll go back in a heartbeat when their new venture arises.