Food @ Trivandrum

Taco Bell @ Trivandrum: Long Time No See

Ah… It has been a long time indeed… The first time I saw and tasted the food from Taco Bell was a long time ago when I visited my relatives in the US, back in the year 2000… It was indeed a love at first bite situation and I had been waiting for them to open a branch in India which happened almost a decade ago in Bengaluru and thankfully, shortly after they opened, I managed to visit there a couple of times… I had been waiting for a Taco Bell to open here in Trivandrum ever since and thankfully, that has finally happened at the Mall of Travancore not too long ago…

For those who may not be aware, Taco Bell is a very famous chain of Mexican Inspired Fast Food Restaurants that starter in US and is now spread across the world… The reason they are called “Mexican Inspired” is simply because their food is only as Mexican as how Italian the food served by Dominos and Olive Garden is ๐Ÿ˜› But as far as I know, this is as close we Trivians can get to taste Mexican food affordably, at-least as of right now… Though initially, the place was too crowded for me to be able to visit, over the past few weeks, it has been my regular lunch spot whenever I could goto MOT and so I think its time I make a post about the food I have had so far and here we are ๐Ÿ™‚

Coming to the food, my favourite item from Taco Bell from the time I had tried all those years ago had been the one they call as the Chalupa… According to the staff member who took my order, its a version of Taco made with a fried flatbread shell filled with chicken, jalapeรฑo sauce, shredded lettuce, cheese and fresh tomatoes… The shell has a texture and taste, thats very similar to that of the Bhatura and has some crispiness in its outer layer (from being fried of-course) while being soft and chewy inside… Here, they let you have a couple of choices when it comes to the kind of filling which in case of Chicken, there is the Mexican Chicken, Fajita Chicken and Crispy Chicken and for vegetarians, there is the Mexican Paneer, Fajita Veggies and Beans and so far, I got to try the versions with the Crispy Chicken as well as the Mexican Chicken… The following pic shows a Chicken Chalupa that I had recently…

Coming to the taste, as I said before, the crust comes piping hot and has a taste and texture thats similar to the Indian Bhatura… The chicken has always been perfectly cooked and has been incredibly flavourful thanks to the spices and herbs used to cook them… The Mexican chicken has been in the form of minced meat / keema but with the flavour of the Chipotle sauce whereas the Crispy Chicken were in the form batter fried boneless strips… The spice level in both felt to be mild, and for those who want it more spicy, the recommendation is to use one of the spicy sauces that they provide… ๐Ÿ™‚ The vegetables ie, Lettuce and Tomatoes felt to be freshly cut off the fridge and the grated cheese felt perfectly salted as well… Its a combination of piping hot shell and meat with cold vegetables and cheese that gives a very interesting eating experience thats a must try if you ask me… As for the sauce, the Jalapeno sauce felt like a Sour Cream made with Jalapeรฑos added to it…

Next up is a new item that I had not seen before as it seems to have been introduced much recently compared to the last time I got to visit a Taco Bell… They call this as the Naked Chicken Taco, which is basically a Taco made with a shell thats made entirely with crispy fried Chicken Meat and I am guessing that it is essentially Taco Bell’s answer to KFC’s Double Down… ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyways, as per what the staff member told me, its made with the Crispy Chicken Meat shell and has a filling of Lettuce, a Mexican Salad and Cheese… This one doesn’t come with any Chicken fillings as since the whole shell is made with Chicken meat (quite thick too), there is no point in having Chicken again inside (though if you ask me, an option to add the Mexican Chicken might be a good idea)… Here, I chose the meal option and hence it came with a portion of Fries as can be seen in the pic below…

Coming to the taste, the shell felt like made with the same recipe as their Crispy Chicken Filling, though in the shape of a Taco Shell rather than strips… To be frank, it reminded me of a spicy version of a Schnitzel but in the shape of a Taco Shell… The vegetables again felt freshly made and the salad felt like having a version of the Tomato Salsa and seems to be made with Tomatoes, Coriander Leaves, Olives and the Jalapeno sauce… The cheese was soft and chewy as it was with the Chalupa and again just like the Chalupa, the same hot shell with cold fillings experience can be felt here too… ๐Ÿ™‚

Next item that I tried is called the Kickin Gordita… Though Gordita has been in Taco Bell’s menu for quite some time, this is apparently a new version that they introduced recently in 2019… Unlike other forms of Tacos available at Taco Bell, this one is made using a soft and fluffy Tortilla bread and comes as two versions – the Kickin Chicken Gordita and the Kickin Paneer Gordita… As per the staff member who took my order, the Chicken used here is the Crispy Chicken and it also has Lettuce, Tomatoes, Cheese and a spicy Kickin Sauce and hence the name Kickin Gordita…

Coming to the taste, this particular crust is similar in terms of taste and texture to our Naan though not exactly like it but will definitely remind you of it… The Chicken here is the same as the Crispy Chicken used in other Tacos but with a small difference in the way it is used which is that here, in Gordita, the strips are placed as whole whereas in other Tacos, its shredded… Other than that of-course, the taste is the same… The Lettuce, Tomatoes and Cheese were same as what I mentioned above and the Kickin sauce felt like a mild hot sauce, the one which they give as accompaniment… The shell had a bit of sweetness in its taste and altogether, I think its a must try… ๐Ÿ™‚

Next up is another Taco that I felt to be interesting when I heard about it… Its called Cheesy Double Decker Taco… Taco Bell has two basic versions of Tacos namely the Crunchy Taco and the Soft Taco… The crust of both are thin and the difference is that the Crunchy one is fried and has a texture thats similar to the North Indian Pappad whereas the Soft one has the crust whose texture is kind of like the Chapati but both are Tortilla based… So, this Cheesy Double Decker Taco is basically a combination of the two ie, the crusts of both the soft and crunch tacos with cheese in between and the filling is like any of their other tacos as can be seen in the pic below…

Coming to the taste, first of all, in between the two shells, in addition to cheese, there was the Mexican style what felt like a Black Pinto Bean paste as well… To be frank, I didn’t quite like it cause of its slimy texture… Other than that, the Chicken used was the Chicken Fajita and it seemed to have a slightly sweet and spicy taste and was seasoned perfectly and there was also the Tomato Salsa like salad and Lettuce along with the Cheese like how it was with the Naked Chicken Taco… I still think its a must try at-least once, at-least for that combination of chewy and crispy textures, though I wish they didn’t use that Bean paste as that ended up overpowering the taste of the Chicken…

Next is another item that I had had long time ago from US, though based on appearance alone, its a different version now… It was seen in the US Taco Bell menu as Grande Nachos but here, they call it as Loaded Nachos… Essentially these are crispy Tortilla Chips topped with meat (Chicken in this case), the Tomato Salsa salad, Pinto Beans, Jalapeรฑos, Sour Cream and their Cheese Sauce as can be seen in the pic below… One thing to be aware of before ordering is that the portion of this one is quite large… I mean I ended up thinking it would be small like the Tacos (one person can easily eat four of them as a meal) and as you can make out from the pic below, I ended up buying it along with a couple of Tacos and ended up with a lot of leftovers that I had them pack as take away at the end…

Coming to the taste, first of all, the Tortilla Chips were incredibly crispy… That with the Cheese Sauce is a great combo on its own… As for the Chicken, it was the same Chipotle spiced Mexican Chicken that they give you the option of having in the Tacos… Though not visible outside as seen in the above pic, as you dig in, you will end up with that Black Pinto Bean paste inside… Again, I wish they didn’t use that or at-least that much of it… Other than that, the combination of the Tortilla Chips with the Cheese Sauce, Chipotle Chicken and the Salsa Salad with Sour Cream felt to be quite good and a must try…

Next up is an item I have never had from Taco Bell before and its was the first time I noticed it in their menu too and its simply called as the Rice Bowl… I chose the non-veg version and as for choice and it came as can be seen in the pic below… ๐Ÿ™‚

Turns out the Rice Bowl had the Chicken Fajita, Salsa Salad, the Rice made with the Pinto Beans paste and there was also a handful of crispy Tortilla Strips as well… As for the taste, the Rice appeared to have the dominant taste of Tomatoes and the Pinto Beans paste… Seasoning was spot on for me too and the rice along with Salsa seemed like a good combination on it own… Though I previously didn’t like the Pinto Beans paste, I didn’t mind having its taste here… As for the Chicken it was perfectly cooked and seasoned well with mild spice level… It has a Sweet and Spicy flavour with domination of the taste of Tomatoes along with a mild sourness possibly from the Salsa Salad being used as its topping as can be seen in the pic above… Overall, I end up liking it, though not as much as the tacos and nachos that I have talked about so far here…

Thats all the main food items that I have tried so far… Now lets talk about a couple of side items and lets start with the Mexican Fries… As can be seen from the pic below, this is basically French Fries but seasoned with what they call as their signature Mexican Seasoning… Just from the appearance alone, I can say that these are the biggest sized Fries that I have ever seen in India… Each of the Fries is almost as big as a human finger and the seasoning is very much visible and its very hard not to enjoy the aroma as well…

Coming to the taste, first of all, I think the potatoes that they use is by far the best tasting ie, most flavourful Potatoes I have had so far… As for the seasoning, the taste felt like a combination of our Indian Chaat Masala along with Paprika and Chilly Powder… The Potatoes (with skin) were simply cooked absolutely perfectly as far as Fries are concerned cause it has a slightly crispy outer layer along with the inside being incredibly soft… ie, once you bite thru that outer layer, you don’t really need teeth to eat these… As for quantity, the pic above shows a portion of Mexican Fries that you get when you order it separately… You can get these as bundled with any of the other items as the “Meal option”, in which case, it would be like how it can be seen in the Naked Chicken Taco pic above… Altogether I think this is the absolute best Fries option in Trivandrum now… I am yet to see anything that can be considered even close to this…

Last but not the least is the snack called Crispy Chicken Nachos… As per the staff member who took my order, this is basically like Nachos but made with Chicken and served with their Cheese Sauce like how they do with Nachos… So, essentially, I think this is Taco Bell’s version of the Chicken Nuggets which is a quintessential item in any western fast food / cafe menu… It arrived as shown in the pic below along with a sachet of Ketchup and their Fire Sauce (for those who want to turn up the heat)…

Coming to the taste, well, the Chicken essentially felt exactly like the shell of the Naked Chicken Taco… The only difference in experience being it having been cut into the shape of the Nachos and the accompaniment of the Cheese Sauce… I for one loved it and hence would recommend it for anyone who hasn’t tried… The best Chicken Nuggets ever in Trivandrum indeed ๐Ÿ™‚

Before we wind up for now, it would be an incomplete post if I didn’t talk about the drink options here… First of all, they offer free unlimited refills of PepsiCo soft-drink products (obviously only for dine-in)… Being a fan of Mirinda, I have always been preferring that although others like Pepsi and 7Up are also available… Other than that, I also tried their couple of Freeze options namely the Strawberry Freeze and Lemon Freeze among with it is the Strawberry Freeze that I ended up liking and what can be seen in the pic below along with the glass of Mirinda… ๐Ÿ™‚

As for the taste, first of all, I felt that the taste of the Mirinda was a bit different from what I have had from outside… I even ended up buying a can later to confirm… Apparently the soft-drinks available at Taco Bell are made by PepsiCo exclusively for Taco Bell and I felt that it has a richer taste of Orange in it with a slightly lesser amount of sweetness compared to the version of Mirinda that we get from the regular market… As for the Strawberry Freeze, essentially, it is a Crusher made with Crushed Ice and Strawberry Pulp along with a couple of Mint Leaves… Again, the flavour of the Strawberry was amazing, but unfortunately, it felt too sweet for me… I think if the sweetness had been at just the same level of sweetness as that Mirinda, it would have tasted much better as in the current state, I felt that the sweetness is kind of masking the flavour of the Strawberry and the Mint…

Thats it for now… I for one am very glad that Taco Bell finally opened a restaurant in Trivandrum as I had been waiting for the same to happen for such a long time… There are still more items in the menu that I am yet to try… Hopefully soon ๐Ÿ™‚ If you haven’t tried visiting yet, I must say that you are loosing big time… So, feel free to do so and check out the food there asap and let me know in the comment section below ๐Ÿ™‚

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: