Popped into Chiquito Durham for a cheeky bite to eat on Sunday. I Was in Durham to try to finish off the Xmas shopping, without Mrs DFD, and after a cold walk down from Gilesgate was a bit famished by the time I got there. The queues at the sausage butty stall in the Market Place were horrific, so I passed them by and did what I had to do, then it suddenly occurred to me that a sit down Mexican would fit the bill to try to warm up. Chiquitos is tucked away in the corner of the Millennium Square complex, next door to Fat Buddha (see later for a review of this). It’s a little bit quieter round there, and with the shopping crowd tending to favour places within eyesight it’s ideal. Plus, not everyone likes Mexican food.
Chiquito in Durham has a nice welcoming facade, with tables outside (only brass monkeys would consider sitting out there today though) for summer evenings, and it opens out into a huge double floored eating area once you get in. Like most of these chained establishments, the waitresses are super-slick at spying you coming and show you to a table pretty pronto. I was given a table over by the door, but it was far enough away not to get an Arctic blast every time other hungries came in. My waitress quickly took an order for my drink and left me a complimentary bowl of salted popcorn. When she came back with the drink I was ready to order. Chicken and Chorizo Tacos grabbed me as a good winter warmer and I got a side order of fries as well.
When the meal arrived I’ve got to say I wasn’t overwhelmed by the quantity, but it was quite nicely presented and colourful. The tacos were served as a stack of three, topped with a dollup of red onion relish and sour cream. They were pretty flat, and I couldn’t really see too much of the content, so took a bite. The chicken and chorizo chunks were really small, in fact I couldn’t really taste the chorizo at all. There was a bit of cheese in there too, but I couldn’t tell what type. The salad was also a little small, with not a lot of flavour to it. The best part of the meal though was undoubtedly the Corn on the Cob. This was sweet and very juicy. The fries were nice and chunky, with just the right amount of seasoning. I used them to dip into the little bowl of salsa. Overall, a little disappointing, but not a disaster by any means. Next up, a dessert to cleanse the palette. I chose the Passion Fruit Sorbet.
This was served in a nice broad rimmed glass, with some kind of leafy garnish and a drizzle of icing sugar. I’m not sure what that leaf was, but it could have been mint? Maybe the eagle eyed reader will tell me? Anyway, the sorbet was pretty refreshing and did the job. Overall then, a meal that I could only describe as ‘filling the hole’. Nothing extraordinary at all, it could have been so much better with a little more flavour and attention to detail. I couldn’t complain at all about the service though, which Chiquitos seem to get just right.
The bill came to £21.60, which I think to be quite expensive to feed only one. However, i’d been here before and knew it wasn’t the cheapest, so not a shock. The first time I ever went to a Chiquito was the one in the Metro Centre in Gateshead. This wasn’t a patch on how I remember my meals there. Mexican food shouldn’t be bland, it should be fiery and zesty. This wasn’t, it was just ordinary, almost like a homemade Mexican meal, with the spices removed so as not to offend anybody.
Price : £21.60 for one
Durham Food and Drink Rating
First Impression : 7, Service : 8, Food : 6, Value : 6
Tel : 0191 3706470
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