“ Chimichanga restaurant and bar CHIMICHANGA brings the heart of Mexico to your table. Emphasising traditional Mexican food with an extensive authentic menu and diverse beer and cocktail lists. „
Chimichanga is a contemporary Mexican style restaurant owned by the Prezzo group, who operate a chain of Pizza restaurants. According to their website there are only ten Chimichanga restaurants in the UK, of which one was based in South Woodford, East London which is the one I visited. I had eaten in this restaurant a few times now and always had an enjoyable meal, with good service. The staff don't rush you and are happy to let you linger for as long as like (which is good if you are dining with my friend Gill who is the World's Slowest Eater). On this occasion I was there to help celebrate two colleagues' birthdays and a leaving do. There were twelve of us for starters and ten for main courses due to babysitting commitments.
When we arrived there was a minor confusion as my friend who had booked the table had mis-counted the number of people who were coming. They had no more tables free but happily brought a long an extra seat and we squished up a bit. It wasn't too much of a squash actually, especially as we lost two people after a while. We ordered drinks and they were brought promptly. There was some confusion over one drink - a gin and bitter lemon. Mahesh thought it tasted a bit odd but couldn't put his finger on it, it was a funny colour, but with so much ice in the glass it was hard to tell. You could tell he didn't really like it, so he asked for another, asking the staff member to bring the mixer separately. When she brought over a ginger ale instead of a bitter lemon we understood why the previous drink had tasted so strange! As they did not have any bitter lemon they seemingly substituted it for ginger ale. This seems a bit of an odd thing to me, especially not to check with the customer too. He got it changed for tonic water and all was well.
It did take a while for everyone to decide what to have as the menu is very extensive. For starters I ordered Jalapeno bullets which are jalapeno peppers stuffed with cream cheese, coated in bread crumbs and deep fried served with a chilli dip. There were about five on my plate and I really love the smooth cream cheese contrast with the spicy jalapenos. Although they are deep fried, they were not as greasy as I had feared and they disappeared in no time. One colleague had Calamari Vera Cruz with a garlic mayo dish and she thought they were excellent, the crab cakes were also a popular choice and there were certainly no complaints from that end of the table. A couple of people had Portabella Mushrooms which were breaded and deep fried, but in one case they thought the coating was a bit too thick and left a little bit. The only starter that wasn't a resounding success was the Nachos. To be honest I never really got to the bottom of what he didn't like about them as he is the World's Fussiest Eater; I think it was because the salsa was too spicy.
Main courses were all pretty much a success also. I chose the Vegetarian Chilli de la Casa which was a spicy bean chilli, with sour cream and grated cheese, Mexican rice and home made tortilla chips. The bowl of chilli was not full but as it was such a deep bowl I discovered that I had not been short-changed as I struggled to reach the bottom of it. I loved the homemade tortilla chips, and if I was picky I would have liked the sour cream on the side, rather than on the top of the dish, but really I was very happy with my meal as was a colleague who had ordered the same thing. Chicken Barbacoa was a popular choice. It was a thin butterfly breast of chicken covered in an orange chilli sauce served with vegetables and a side of rice or chips. Everyone who had it (about four) loved it, but one complaint was that they felt the rice was pre-made packet 'Uncle Ben's'. I had the same rice, but having not eaten packet rice, I can't comment, but I certainly didn't think the rice tasted odd in anyway, or unlike rice. One colleague had the chicken and chorizo pasta bake which she thought delicious, however the chicken was missing. There were some generous chorizo pieces in there and the flavour was good, so she didn't pursue it. The Tampino Prawn pasta which came with peppers and onions in a spicy sauce was a huge success with the colleague who had that dish. Mr Fussy had The Sante Fe chicken which was a marinated grilled chicken on a bed of rice served with black beans, guacamole and sour cream. He really enjoyed it which made a pleasant change.
We did check out the dessert selection, it is fairly modest compared to the extensive range of main courses, but we elected to go for coffees and drinks instead. The liquor coffees are served in a tall glass cup; however the coffee only came half way up the glass. Other tables had their coffees served a similar way, so I assume it is the norm to fit in with espresso measures. I think they probably should use smaller glasses in this instance as it does look a bit mean to only fill half the glass and my colleagues who had the coffees all noticed and wondered if they had been short-changed.
Portion sizes and good and there were no complaints on that account. There are plenty of vegetarian options and the option to go with less spicy food if you prefer. The food isn't blow-your-head-off hot, but does have a subtle and pleasant kick to it. The décor in this branch is very contemporary with dark wood tables and chairs and caramel brown leather banquette seats in the booths. I would recommend booking at peak times such as weekends and Wednesdays (it is near the local cinema so popular with people on Orange Wednesday deals). I found the toilet facilities to be neat and clean and they have disabled access. They have a garden for warmer days. Price wise this place can get expensive if you are having lots of drinks, but there are reasonably priced options available. Starters average about £4.95 with nachos at £3.50. Mains vary from £8.45 for burgers and £8.50 for some of the pastas, salads or wraps, going up to£15.95 for the sirloin steak. Wines start as £12.95 for the house wine, and they offer cocktails (£4.95), spirits and beers. They do offer lunchtime deals which are quite competitive. Service was good (apart from the bitter lemon substitution), they came round regularly to check on our needs.
I would definitely recommend a visist here if you like Mexican style food.
On a recent trip to Lincoln, myself and my fella were looking for somewhere to eat. After a bit of persuading that Nandos was not the only place to get chicken we decided to give Chimichanga a try. Chimichanga is a restaurant chain owned by Prezzo Plc and this particular restaurant was on the waterfront at Lincoln.
Seating was available both inside and out, but as my fella has an aversion to wasps around his food we decided to eat inside. We were served immediately upon entering the restaurant and shown to a table. We were given two choices of menu: the standard menu and a promotional lunchtime one. I was immediately drawn to the lunchtime menu as being a good deal.
~*~ Lunchtime Menu~*~
The deal was as follows:
2 courses £7.95 or 3 courses £9.95, 1st soft drink £1, 1st small bottle of wine/beer £2
Even my other half had to agree that even if the courses were small he would have eaten enough with 3 courses. As you would expect from a special offer menu, the choice was restricted but still a decent range.
There were 4 choices of starter. I chose Portobella Mushrooms and my partner chose Buffalo Chicken Wings. For the main course there were 3 main choices plus some salad and alternative options. I chose the Tortilla Cheese Burger and my partner the Piri Piri Chicken Wrap (who need Nandos!). The deserts were limited to either cheesecake or ice cream and we both opted for cheesecake.
~*~ Food and service~*~
Our drinks order was taken initially and we were asked if we would like any olives. We refused these and our drinks arrived promptly with ice frosted glasses. We then ordered our 3 courses with a minimum of fuss. We didn't have to wait long for the starters to arrive and we both noted how beautifully it was presented. Both dishes came with salad garnish and sour cream dip. We both cleared our plates in record time (apart from the chicken bones of course) and agreed that the food was divine.
After such a great start we couldn't wait to get our main courses and we didn't have long to wait until they arrived. Both were served again with salad garnish and this time with Changa chips. We were asked if we would like any sauces and these were fetched straight away. I was a little sceptical about the chips as they looked similar to the ones I get from my local Pizza takeaway and they are rank! However they tasted nothing like them, these were crispy and the spices just added to the taste. My tortilla burger was tender and wrapped in a tortilla with mayonnaise and cut in half. It was listed as a cheeseburger, but I didn't notice any strong taste of cheese so this may have been missed. I didn't complain though as it was still delicious. The Piri Piri Wrap was well packed with filling and my partner said it tasted delicious. Both dishes were again well presented.
Towards the end of our main courses we were both filling up and decided we needed some more drinks. The waitress came over straight away and took our request. The drinks arrived shortly after.
The waitress came and took away our plates and asked if we would like desserts or coffee. I explained that I had already ordered the desserts and she apologised and came back with them straight away.
The cheesecake was served on square, ice frosted plates which were dusted with cocoa powder and icing sugar. The cheesecake itself was a melt in the mouth delight with chocolate and honeycomb bits both on the top and within the cake. The other half did suggest that maybe some cream would have been a good idea but once he started eating it he forgot all about the cream.
During our time in the restaurant we were dealt with by two differenet waitresses. Both were equally polite, helpful and prompt.
~*~ The bill ~*~
Our total bill came to an amazing £26.90. I have to say that this is the best deal I have had for a long time. That included 3 courses and 2 drinks each. We were both left full and satisfied with our choices. The bill came quickly and the waitress took our payment by card asking if we wanted to leave a tip to add it on the machine.
~*~ The decor and facilities ~*~
The restaurant had a very clean new look to it. The floor was tiled and shined to within an inch of its life. The seating all seemed to be new. However to compliment this new feel was the mexican authentic decor. There were lots of wooden beams on the ceiling and pillars also made of wood. The walls were decorated with aztec type figures and there were lots of large urns containing plants around the room.
Before leaving I took a trip to the ladies and found this at the back of the restaurant hidden away. Each toilet had an individual room, with basin, dryer and mirror. It was very clean and was inkeeping with the rest of the decor of the restaurant.
When we eat out we normally have two children following us around (this was a rare day). The menu we were given did not indicate any special choices for children and the food was quite spicy so I don't think we would choose to take the children along. They did however have high chairs at the back of the room and there was a girl at one of the other tables so kids are welcome.
All the items we ate from the lunchtime menu were available on the main menu along with of course many other choices. They had everything you would expect from texmex such as fajitas, burritos, chillies and nachos etc. Main courses ranged from £8-£12 and starters around £4.50. I did not notice the prices of the desserts.
The drinks choices were priced as you would expect. £2 for a soft drink and £3.05 for a bottle of beer. They also had many other drinks choices such as sangria and margueritas.
A full menu and price list is available on their website www.chimichanga.co.uk. This also details the addresses of their restaurants.
The restaurant we visited was:
Unit 1A Brayford Quays
Brayford Wharf North
Tel : 01522 527722
~*~ Overall Impression ~*~
When we visited the restaurant was very quiet and so whether a busier time would impact on the service I cannot comment. But the service we received was 1st class. I could not fault the waitresses, the decor, the food or the price. This is the one and only time I have visited Chimichanga and as this is the nearest to where I live it may not be a regular occurence. However if I was to notice one on my travels I would be tempted immediately. The cost of food on the regular menu seemed to be similar to its competitors and reasonable value but obviously this lunch time deal made it all the better for our visit.
Utterly dreadful. The Lincoln outlet was simply awful. The service was incompetent and earnest - an odd combination. The food was unambiguously terrible. The steak and chicken fajitas comprised meat that had to be carbon-dated before being eaten; indeed it was mostly carbon in any case as it appeared to have been burned to within an inch of its existence some days prior to being served up on a pathetically miserly selection of sizzling vegetables. Or a part of a single vegetable having been generously sliced. The saving grace was the paucity of the meat serving. There were 3 slivers of the brown meat and four of the less brown one.
The margaritas proudly boasted of containing ingredients one would expect. I do not doubt that tequila was present, but in such small quanitities that I couldn't decide whether it was a beverage or a homeopathic cure.
All told, £60 for two including tip. Outrageous. The margins must be huge but going by the scarce diners, hopefully short-lived.
Chimichanga is up there as one of my top 3 restaurants. This restaurant and bar provides a Mexican menu and a great list of drinks and cocktails. All the food is freshly prepared by the chef in the restaurant and depending which one of their locations you go to you will see the chef cooking. The menu enables you to go and have a nibble on a few dishes with friends or to have a full three course meal. The Chimichanga I often visit is in Braintree on the Freeport Village, Charter Way. There are 6 locations in all, which in my opinion is not enough! The Braintree location would be the nearest for those in Essex.
I have lost count the number of times I have been so I wont list what I have eaten every time I have been because it is a large menu I tend to have something different every time, but I will tell you about my favourite starter, main and dessert!
Starter - Mexican Spring Rolls - just imagine your Chinese spring rolls but these have Mexican flavours, chicken, peppers cheese wrapped in tortilla and then fried and served with guacamole (the green stuff, don't be put of by this if you don't like it, it is a known Mexican food but not served with everything on the menu)
Main - Burrito - this is probably my favourite main and one of my favourite dishes of all time! This is chicken, cheese, onions and peppers wrapped in tortilla and baked and served with Mexican rice and black beans. If you wanted to push the boat out and have it fried rather than baked then your after a Chimichanga!
Dessert - I do like the profiterole, this is not like your usual profiteroles in other restaurants, you get one large one!
If you have never eaten Mexican food and your not sure then they do burgers but not in a bun in a tortilla, they do salads, pastas etc.
I often wash this down with an apple juice or a wine, depends whether I am driving or not. But if I stick with apple juice then that three course meal I have detailed above would cost £16.75. Now the starters are nice sizes and get your mouthy watering for your main and the mains have always been fairly large and I have yet been able to finish a burrito meal!
The layout in Braintree is nice, it has a sofa area for you just to have a drink or for to wait for your table and then tables along the wall and in the middle. The kitchen and the chef are at the back as you walk in and you can see and hear them cooking which I always think is nice. There is a good atmosphere in this restaurant and the staff are friendly and the service has always been good. Around the restaurant are what I can only described as statues that are similar to totem poles. They do have an outside dining area also.
I do recommended that you book, you never used to be able to however they now have enabled you to, but you can still walk in but if it is a Thursday Friday or Saturday then expect to be slightly rushed for them to meet their bookings.
I only have one negative thing to say about this restaurant and that is the size of the drinks. As I have previously said I often have a fresh apple juice which comes in a small tumbler for £2.30 and I often need at least 2. Your usual cokes and sprites will come in their glass bottles.
If your not so much a customer but a waiter or kitchen staff then I believe they are recruiting at the moment!
If your interested in having a look at the menu, other locations or job application then visit www.chimichanga.co.uk