In 2022, Bury St Edmunds’ Mexican restaurant, Amigos, was proclaimed to be “Best Mexican Establishment of the Year” at the Food England Awards. This year, it’s scooped the “Mexican Restaurant of the Year” award at the London & South East England Prestige Awards.
From the outside, it’s not necessarily a place that screams “award-winning”: a small frontage just outside of the town centre, nothing visible inside bar a counter full of leaflets and stairs heading straight up.
Once you’ve climbed those stairs, though, you realise what a Tardis this place is, with the dining area and kitchen stretching across the first floors of a couple of buildings on Brentgovel Street.
Amigos has got the sort of fun decor you’d expect from a Mexican restaurant: dangling string lights, brightly coloured lampshades, distressed painted wooden tables and candles in empty tequila bottles, bulbous with months’ (if not years’) worth of candle wax. The lady who showed us to our table was friendly, enthusiastic and great with the five-year-old – and the kids’ menu alone shows that they’re geared up for young children.
In a world where so many kids’ menus consist of something fried, breaded or battered and served with chips, it was nice to see that Amigos realise that some kids may actually want to enjoy Mexican food rather than nuggets. For £8.50, younger diners can choose a main plus an apple juice or orange juice – and add a scoop of ice cream for pudding for an extra £1.
These mains include a DIY taco plate, which comes with a choice of grilled chicken or beef plus two flour tortillas, spiced rice, sour cream, guacamole, grated cheese and salad. More than enough fillings for the two tortillas with some leftover, and the perfect fun meal for a five-year-old to get stuck into. The char on the chicken was beautiful and the rice was packed full of flavour without being too hot for a small child’s palate.
The chilli beef chimichanga (£16.95) was a beast: an enormous flour tortilla packed with tender spiced beef, rice, beans and melted cheese, fried until wonderfully crisp and topped with sour cream, guacamole and pico de Gallo which added a lovely fresh flavour.
My £16.95 enchiladas, meanwhile (I chose chicken in a verde sauce) were the best I’ve ever eaten. When a plate is filled with a zingy coriander-spiked green sauce and a mound of delicious refried beans before being smothered in plenty of cheese I imagine it’s hard to make it look attractive, but the smells wafting from my plate when it was set in front of me were incredible. It was an enormous portion: the chicken lovely and tender, the toppings plentiful, the flavour of that verde sauce so good that I’d happily have drunk it from my glass.
We were stuffed. The child, though, had spotted the churros on the dessert menu. I forget the price but whatever it was, they were worth it. Hot, crisp and sugary, they barely needed the pot of rich, gloopy chocolate sauce to dip them in.
I can hand on heart say that our lunch at Amigos was the best Mexican meal I’ve eaten in the UK. The setting, service and food were all fantastic, they cater well to allergies and specific diets and the prices aren’t bad either. Head over to Amigos on a Tuesday and you’ll also find that certain dishes are on a 2-for-1 offer (as long as you purchase a drink), making an award-winning Mexican meal out even more affordable. Definitely recommended.