Pleasantly surprised would sum up my experience! First of all, how did I miss a Mexican restaurant in Peterborough? Second, there is a Mexican restaurant in Peterborough?
Admittedly they say they are Tex Mex... and some of the items on the menu reflect that. I figured it would be like Chiquitos and in some ways it kind of is, but I think the food is better than Chiquitos. We walked in and since it was early, we thought we would just like to have drinks and take our time before ordering. The host was very accommodating and we ended up sitting in a huge booth... which was rather awkward for a first date! Anyway, after figuring where to sit, we took a look at the drinks menu... some of the cocktails looked really nice, but with some of them at £8... I decided to pass. This is where the menu gets kind of... multi-cultural? And I just don't mean the Tex Mex mix... Sangria, Paella, Piri-Piri... not exactly Mexican... not exactly Tex Mex. Oh well. I decided I'd be multi-cultural and I had the Sangria, my date did as well, so the waiter sold us on the pitcher. As my date said after taking a sip, "Why did we order the pitcher again?" At least it wasn't like drinking a sugary mess.
Anyway, after about an hour, we opened menus and after looking for a few minutes, the host very attentively stopped at the table and said, "Ready to order or more drinks?" Nice, didn't have to try and catch his attention at all. He was trying to sell us appetizers, so we went with the tortilla chips and pico de gallo... which you would usually get for free at a proper Mexican restaurant, but... at least it was on the menu. He said it was better with cheese, so we said ok... they're not and there wasn't a whole lot of cheese anyway. Go sans cheese. The pico de gallo was excellent and I'm a bit of a snob because I make some really good pico (it is super easy), but this was really good. My only complaint the 'cute' tortilla bowl it came in; it was not helpful when trying to dip the tortilla chips. However, they also have my favourite hot sauce on the table, Cholula hot sauce... good on tortilla chips as well!
My date, unfamiliar with Mexican food, ordered the Hot & Spicy Piri Piri Chicken and I had the Chimichanga with... (wait for it) BBQ Pulled Pork. As an American, I love my BBQ and really love pulled pork, so I was curious to see what it would be like in a Chimichanga. The food came out relatively quickly and it was a lot of food! The presentation was lovely and I was excited to see rice and beans under the Chimichanga and sour cream and guac on top of the Chimichanga. The lady asked if we wanted any sauces, I really wanted more pico for my chimichanga, but I figured I'd probably get charged extra for it (...or should I say my date would...). Anyway, surprisingly the chimichanga was really nice! I don't know if I tasted much BBQ, but the flavour that was there, was wonderful. The beans (black beans) and rice were delicious as well! My date started into his Piri Piri Chicken and part way through he was sweating... apparently when they meant Hot & Spicy... they weren't lying. And he was running out of Coke and the empty pitcher that had the leftover ice from our Sangria was gone too... hope he won't be feeling that for too long!
We decided we should have a peek at the dessert menu. My date asked me for a recommendation this time, after joking that the obvious choice for him would've been ice cream, I suggested the Churros. I remember as a kid they were the best treat in the world... ok, maybe not in the world, but at the amusement park between rides. I saw, for the very first time since I have been in Europe, Coconut Cream Pie! I think the last slice I had was my Grandmother's Coconut Cream Pie... delicious! So I decided I would try this out. A minute later, the host came over and said, "Who ordered the Coconut Cream Pie?" You guessed it, they were out. So I opted for the Key Lime Pie, again, not really Mexican, but adding Kahlua to the cream inside a Profiterole doesn't really make it a Mexican Profiterole does it?! The Churros looked awesome, drizzled with Dulce de Leche... no I didn't try them, yes like a gentleman he offered. The pie looked good, but I think they may have forgotten one key ingredient (and no I did not intend that pun and no it isn't the ingredient you think)... sugar! It wasn't just tart, it was sour. The biscuit base was fantastic though! Needless to day I didn't finish it.
Overall, the meal was better than I anticipated and the service was really good. I did think it was a bit pricey... specifically the drinks. However, at 21 minutes by train and a short walk from where I live, it does make it the closest, decent Mexican restaurant. And that'll do.
OK, I admit it, I'm kinda biased because I really love Mexican food, but this restaurant rocks! Initially, the service was good and the beer was cold. Somewhat strangely, we were asked if we'd like olives to start with - olives aren't really what I'd think of as traditional Tex-Mex fare, so we asked for nachos instead - they came quickly, and the salsa (in a tortilla chip in the shape of a bowl) was really good.
Moving onto the main courses, there was a good mix of grill and Mexican food with a couple of specials on the board. I had a chimichanga (hey, when it's what the restaurant is named after, who can help but order that?!). It was extremely tasty, and I substituted the rice for chips which were brilliant. Another person on my table had the crabcakes, which I didn't get to try, but that's probably a good sign. The Mexican paella was also really nice, and filling! Somewhat unexpectedly, the jalapeño coleslaw was great, too.
We looked at the dessert menu, and I had key lime pie, which had attitude - it wasn't sour, but it had a kick to it that was really refreshing at the end of the meal. I'd also really like to try the honeycomb cheesecake!
This is one of a chain of new Mexican restaurants that have opened up and down the country, so if you get a chance to visit one, please do - I want this business to do well so that I can keep eating here for many years to come!
A below mediocre Mexican / Tex-mex experience.
Maybe I'm being petty but if staff at a Mexican restaurant cannot correctly pronounce "Jalapenos" then what hope is there for the food to be up to standard and as was to be expected, the food was pretty miserable.
Peterborough lacked a Mexican offering until a couple of years ago when we suddenly got three within a year or so of each other - CoCo, Chimichanga and then Chiquito (which is on a business park outside of the city centre).
For a chain restaurant in the middle of the city Chimichanga's needs to be better when it comes to service and food. The restaurant itself could be a dive (it's not, it actually looks ok) but service and food is poor.
One saving grace is the outside seating in the private courtyard at the back of the restaurant, but that's no good when it's raining or cold outside.
food is really good and service is excellent!
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