Newest Review: ... why the previous drink had tasted so strange! As they did not have any bitter lemon they seemingly substituted it for ginger ale. Thi... more
Chilli at Chimi
Chimichangas Restaurant and Bar
Member Name: Essexgirl2006
Chimichangas Restaurant and Bar
Advantages: Good food, nice decor, reasonable service
Disadvantages: Nothing major.
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.
Summary: A contemporary Mexican restaurant.