Thursday, 7 March 2013

Review - Chiquito

Chiquito Restaurant Bar & Mexican Grill are passionate about their food (it says so on their website).  With a recently launched new menu, we decided to take ourselves along to see what's on offer.

This was only my 3rd visit to Chiquito's so I can't comment too much on previous menu items.  Having opted once before for their Texan Smoke-Stack Double Burger, I decided against choosing a burger for myself on this occasion, primarily because I fancied trying something different but also because of my ongoing annoyance with burgers which can't be picked up and eaten by hand.  A friend who joined us for our Chiquito visit did however order a standard BBQ Pulled Pork Cheeseburger which I'm glad to say resembled far more closely the classic 'hand held' burger.

I decided to go for the Southern Fried Chicken with BBQ Pulled Pork, Coleslaw, Onion Rings and Skin-On Fries.  The BBQ Pulled Pork is included in many of Chiquito's menu items, however in both this dish and the aforementioned Double-Stack Burger, the serving size is tiny.  This won't be the case in dishes where the pork is the star of the show, but fans of the pulled pork should be aware that they won't be seeing much of it sitting on top of their burger or chicken.

Southern Fried Chicken with BBQ Pulled Pork

The southern fried chicken itself was crispy on the outside, if perhaps a little overcooked, whilst still remaining tender on the inside.  The breaded coating was a little dark and overdone but not so much that it had any real negative effect on the overall dish.  The tangy, sweet barbecue sauce / pulled pork on top worked well with the chicken too and probably helped to compensate for the overcooked breading.  The skin-on fries were very good indeed, crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside as any good chip (or fry) should be.

The mini corn on the cob was bland and could have been improved with a little chargrilling.  As an accompaniment to the chicken it was perfectly acceptable however.  The onion rings, three in number, were also simply 'ok'.  Made with real onion slices as opposed to minced onion, they were cooked well and nicely crisp on the outside, however the breaded coating lacked any real flavour.  This wasn't too much of a problem when eaten alongside the BBQ sauce and Coleslaw.

More plentiful helpings of pork arrived in the 2nd dish we orderered, namely the BBQ Pulled Pork Fully Loaded Burrito.  Oven baked and packed with Texan cheese sauce, black beans and BBQ Pulled Pork, the Burrito is finished with a flavoursome tomato sauce and served with Guacamole, Sour Cream and Fresh Salsa.  The tomato sauce and other finishing touches are served on top of the baked Burrito, making this a knife and fork job as opposed to being hand held like a street food Burrito.  As opposed to being simply an after thought, the BBQ Pulled Pork is very much the star of the show where this is concerned and it certainly doesn't disappoint.  Variations of this dish are also available, served instead with Veggie Chilli, Beef Chilli or Spicy Chicken.

Fully Loaded BBQ Pork Burrito

The third dish to arrive at the table was the BBQ Pulled Pork and Cheeseburger, this time looking much more manageable and handheld than the mammoth Texan Smoke-Stack Double Burger which had previously required the use of cutlery.  This looked much more like the type of burger I know and love - served with crisp lettuce, red onion, beef tomato and chipotle mayo inside a delicious soft bread roll (so good I felt inspired to have a go at baking some burger rolls myself) with a side of skin-on fries, I made a mental note to be sure to try this for myself on our next visit.

BBQ Pulled Pork Cheeseburger
As we were in a bit of a rush, we didn't bother with starters on this visit to Chiquito.  We did make time for dessert however, starting with the Chocolate Brownie.  Served with a Vanilla flavoured ice cream and strawberries, the brownie was perfect.  Slightly crisp on the outer edges whilst remaining gooey and full of rich chocolate flavour in the middle.  The brownie is apparently served warm, though this was not the case on this occasion.  Ours arrived at room temperature - this wasn't a problem however as the brownie pieces were soft and not at all dry.  It's worth mentioning too that the seeds of the vanilla pod were evident throughout the ice cream, proving beyond doubt that it was the real deal.

Chocolate Brownie with Vanilla Ice Cream

The 2nd dessert we opted for was the Churros with Chocolate Flavour Sauce.  Sweet, cinnamon sugar dusted churros (think donuts), perfectly shaped for dipping in the gorgeous chocolate sauce which sat alongside it.  I'm not a huge fan of cinnamon but it worked well in this dish, noticeable without being overpowering.


Our final dessert dish was the Banana Taquito.  A whole banana, wrapped in a cinnamon tortilla and fried until golden.  This too came with sides of Vanilla flavoured Ice Cream and Chocolate Flavour Sauce and was very tasty indeed, with the added bonus of counting, technically, as one of your 5-a-day.

Banana Taquito

Chiquito can be relied upon for some pretty decent food and the prices are surprisingly reasonable.  Ultimately, a meal with starters and desserts included won't cost a great deal more than a takeaway delivery and so, with some polite table service thrown into the mix, it's certainly good value for money.  Even more value can be had from their lunchtime menu (including unlimited refills on soft drinks).

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