I’ve had Chiquito in my sights for a wee while as I’ve felt the need to check-in with generic Mexican. This is one of the cuisines with which I am most uncomfortable as even at the places where I can recognise the quality is high, such as at the excellent El Cartel and Bodega, the dishes tend to appeal to my head not my heart.
As I crossed Chiquito’s threshold, I had a moment of dreadful TGI Fridays flashback, as the place has that awful penned-in design and there was an overly enthusiastic man shaking my hand, showing me to a table, and telling me the name of my impending waiter. For the sake of consistency let’s call him Helvetico.
Actually, once I’d managed to make it clear that their approach to service was in fact not service at all but merely intrusive nonsense, Helvetico steered me through the evening quite admirably.
For example, I wanted to order a glass of wine to arrive with my main course rather than immediately. He made it clear that this would require conspiratorial action on our part, which I was happy to play my part.
We had a small initial blip when a substitute Helvetico arrived and announced that my preferred starter, the veggie empanadas, was sold out. His attempts at “service” to address this were quickly dismissed, original Helvetico came back, then I was soon free to order the cantina mushrooms then the Mexican paella to follow.
The starter promptly arrived looking much as expected. It was a curious goo with a paltry selection of mushrooms within it. It was topped with crushed tortilla chips. The accompanying non-crushed ones were rather better. It was a reasonable effort but rather overpriced for the quality.
The main course was a similarly mixed bag. The king prawns atop the dish were so overcooked it was almost untrue and the aroma of burnt prawn feet dominated. This was a shame as the other, smaller prawns in the rice were pretty good and the chicken also packed good flavour.
I was left to reflect on a menu and an evening that had some elements that were actually pretty good but were ultimately undercut by inaccuracies.
So overall, for the type of restaurant it is, Chiquito isn’t doing a bad job. There were parts of the paella, cremated prawns aside, that were very decent. If you can convince their “service” to calm down, you can quite happily spend an evening eating reasonable quality food for just a little bit more than you should be paying for it.
Blythe scores Chiquito
2.5/5 for food
2.5/5 for presentation
3/5 for setting
3/5 for service
giving an overall 11/20
I ate: cantina mushrooms; Mexican paella
I drank: pisco sour, water, organic white
I wore: mainly brown
Total bill: £32.10
Address: 29-31 Frederick Street EH2 2ND