Chiquito, Cribbs Causeway: Review

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Chiquito Cribbs Causeway - Exterior

 

Until this week, I’d never eaten at a branch of Chiquito in my life. That all changed, though, when we were invited up to The Venue, Cribbs Causeway, to sample one of the Tex-Mex chain’s two Bristol restaurants (the other is at the Aspects Leisure Park) to see what they had to offer.

“Our food is packed full of flavour”, proclaims a page at the front of the menu, “using the tastiest ingredients, with inspiration taken from the Texas borders through to Mexico”. And walking into the restaurant, it was clear to see the Tex-Mex influence: Chiquito-branded sombreros were scattered throughout the restaurant for diners to wear, warm colours prevailed throughout, Latin American-style tiles adorned the back of the bar, and rustic wooden planks and intricate light fittings were present across the restaurant. Some of the decor was a little confusing, though, with a clash of leather-style benches and other booths upholstered in a mix of patterns that just didn’t seem to sit together well.

What we were impressed with, though, was the drinks menu, which offered a wide choice of options from soft and hot drinks to wines, spirits, beers and cider (well, Magners…) as well as a lengthy cocktail list.

While Chris went for a beer (a bottle of Pacifico Clara, ambitiously priced at £4.15 for 335ml: a refreshing pilsner-style lager), I instead chose to sample from the cocktail menu, and after much deliberation went for a Wildberry Caipiroska (£6.75) from the “refreshing” section of the cocktail menu. Incredibly sweet yet very refreshing, this blend of Eristoff vodka, Chambord black raspberry liqueur, puréed summer berries and lime was topped off with crushed ice, whole raspberries and a wedge of lime. Delicious.

 

Chiquito Cribbs Causeway - Wildberry Caipiroska

 

Having heard that portion sizes are on the generous side, we dispensed with the idea of starters and went straight for the mains. There’s a huge amount of choice on the food menu: burgers, Tex-Mex dishes, wraps, flatbreads, tacos, fajitas…the list goes on. In the end, we both chose from the Tex-Mex section, with my choice marked with a little sombrero to say that it was recommended by Chiquito.

For Chris, the chicken & ribs (£16.25): a combination of a marinated chicken breast and a quarter rack of pork ribs, served with a range of sides. The grilled chicken was moist, tender and well seasoned, with a lovely smokey flavour, while the ribs were a bit of a letdown: the sauce was too sweet, there were a few gristly bits and the meat itself could have been more tender.

 

Chiquito Cribbs Causeway - Chicken and Ribs

 

For me, the southern fried chicken and BBQ pulled pork (£14.95): a chicken breast coated in southern fried breadcrumbs, topped with pulled pork and finished with melted cheese. The chicken itself was lovely, beautifully cooked with a thick coating of seasoned breadcrumbs and a nice hit of spice. The pulled pork, however, was disappointing: it came in large chunk that were a bit flabby and completely the wrong texture, and were nowhere near seasoned enough.

We both agreed, though, that the skin-on chips were great, and the corn on the cob beautifully chargrilled and tender. The slaw was fairly average, but very creamy, the onion rings were full of flavour but a little overcooked, and the BBQ sauce with which both of our meals were accompanied tasted a little artificial for our liking.

 

Chiquito Cribbs Causeway - Chicken and Pork

 

We decided that we had just enough space for dessert…I was intrigued by the Mexican Mess (£5.65) – the Chiquito take on Eton Mess. A tortilla basket (sadly not cinnamon-flavoured, as promised on the menu) housed a mix of chocolate brownie pieces, a churro, strawberries, strawberry yoghurt, raspberry ripple ice cream, chocolate sauce and a mountain of sweetened cream that tasted as if it had come out of a can. The brownies weren’t bad, including chocolate chips, while the raspberry ripple ice cream was light and refreshing. I couldn’t taste the strawberry yoghurt, but the chocolate sauce was thick and not overly rich, while the churro was perfectly cooked and full of flavour…it’s just a shame that it got soggy and unpleasant while resting amongst the other ingredients.

 

Chiquito Cribbs Causeway - Mexican Mess

 

Cheesecake fan Chris ordered the Chiquito take on the dish: the Golden Nugget Cheesecake (£5.65). The slightly soggy cheesecake base provided the vehicle for a soft and creamy textured filling, whose flavour was masked somewhat by the sheer number of chocolate coated honeycomb pieces, which were pretty good. The chocolate sauce with which it was accompanied was the same as in my dessert: decadently thick, but without the richness that you’d expect.

 

Chiquito Cribbs Causeway - Cheesecake

 

Throughout our meal, service was brisk and efficient but friendly, and dishes served surprisingly quickly.

Our meal at Chiquito had both good points and bad points: while it’s not somewhere I’d necessarily rush back to, it was pretty busy on the Tuesday night of our visit so obviously has a wide appeal.

 

Please note: we received a £50 voucher to put towards our food and drink, but this in no way impacted on our opinion. We were not obliged to write a positive review, and the venue did not see this review before it was put up on the site.

 

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