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Written on: 05/06/2008 by joellireland (1 review written)

Good Points
Please see below

Bad Points
Please see below

General Comments

A three course meal from Chiquito will probably set you back on average £43-48 with a few drinks between. That was our bill on what was a meal we walked away from quite gutted we actually paid that much. Several defining points made this an unsavoury dining experience. I thought the waitering was atrocious and the desert of fried ice cream was quite frankly, offensive to the pocket for what it was. I've structured our experience below;

Atmosphere & Layout

I feel Chiquito is very hit and miss when it comes to its atmosphere and layout, atmosphere is something Chiquito has lost since it franchised itself and location and building size is dependant on how far the company decides to adorn its customers with the whole mexican experience. The layout in the particular restaurant in Gunwahrf Quays, Portsmouth is particularly restrictive although containing long family dining tables to deliver a family experience on the second floor, however this is where the problem arose. Trying to get to the toilets involved pushing my way through seated customers. Frankie and Benny's located directly opposite has the same structure, however they have situated their WC facilities in an adequate space away from the dining areas. This is something I felt Chiquito really didn't think about too well when this restaurant launched in Gunwharf just a few years back. All in all the design layout and atmosphere stands towards less atmosphere, more bums on seats and that's something we didn't particularly like.

Waitering & Hospitality

The staff at Chiquito, Portsmouth seemed strangely enough predominantly male, mid thirties which was a refreshing change. However the problem with the waitering this evening was the constant murmuring of is everything okay? several minutes between already being asked the same question. Extremely tedious. Secondly, our drinks were sat at the bar for at least 4 minutes as a member of staff seemingly forgot to serve them to ourselves, of which senior management apologised profusely and gave us two corona's on the house. The funny twist to this was that they nearly were not on the house as our initial bill at the end of meal stated they were chargeable. To be fair on the waiter he did realise his mistake before we raised it to him. Overall I thought the waitering & hospitality this evening was pretty shoddy, lack lustre and more annoying. I would have preferred more drinks served on time, food served promptly and be left to our devices rather than parroting back to staff answers to the same questions.

Food & Presentation

Starter - A Platter of Barbeque Chicken Wings with Yogurt Dip.

A typical platter presentation with Yogurt dip enough to satisfy every chicken wing on the plate. The sticky barbeque sauce on the chicken wings was full of flavour along with that rustic chargrilled flavour of the chicken was brought together extremely well with the Yogurt dip which complimented the starter extremely well. Chicken Wings were just right, enough meat on them, not too fatty and not anorexic either. Couldn't really ask for more other than perhaps a few other dips to compliment the taste buds.

Main - Chicken Enchiladas with Tomato Rice & Diced Salad Garnished with Lemon.

The main was the best part of the meal, the enchilada had a beautiful crispy and also light tortilla which complimented the spicy chicken and tomato filling. The meal consisted of three tortillas wrapped, served on a boat dish with a cheese topping. The tomato rice was not too overpowering and complemented the meal extremely well. The side salad was refreshing, zest of lemon & lime along with its diced texture and peppered was distinctly mexican by nature and enjoyable. If there was anything to fault it would be the presentation of the main, the rice was splashed across the main plate with the salad whilst the enchiladas cradled in the boat, there was no attention to detail in the garnish and if anything the tomato rice was a little dry.

Desert - Fried Ice Cream with Cinnamon and Flakes of Corn

At a pretty expensive £4.00 a go. This desert was shocking. One scoop of ice cream served in a bowl full of whipped cream, presentation was average but it was the flavour and size of the serving that made this a quite disastrous desert. The desert tasted like a bowl of crunchy nut cornflakes and given the price I could of bought a months worth of cereal for the amount we paid for the desert. I think the general cost of the deserts at Chiquito is quite expensive and given the portions are small and the flavours leaving you with a sour taste in your mouth over just how much you spent on a substandard desert is something to watch out for if you eat at Chiquito.

Conclusion & Rating

I feel Chiquito is nothing more than an average eatery that fails on the basic principles of dining. The lack of atmosphere doesn't capture mexico in any shape or form, the latin music is nothing more than a poor attempt to justify they are making an effort. The food is very hit and miss, Chiquito's strengths lay in the starters and main courses but completely fail when it comes down to a decent and fulfilling desert. We've had much better food at half the price, a real disappointment as if a few changes are made it could have been a half decent dining experience.

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