There is one thing I love in life and thats MEXICAN FOOD! I loved it before I was pregnant, but right now the mix of spice, sour cream and cheese just seems to tick all my pregnancy craving boxes too, making it my ideal meal out. So, on a sunny Spring day, V, Violet and I met up with our good friends Rachael and Sam for an absolutely huge Mexican feast, with cocktails all round, so I could get my pregnancy craving fix and have a good catch up with friends too.
For some reason, I’d never tried a Chiquito before (even though they are all over the country) – maybe as there isn’t one in Brighton it’s slipped through the net for me, but I’d heard great things so couldn’t wait to see the menu.
Our nearest restaurant is in Crawley. The restaurant is absolutely massive – spacious with loads of tables, with sombreros to wear if thats the sort of thing that takes your fancy.
I was impressed with the attention to detail from the team. Before we had even arrived, they’d set up our table for us right in the window, with a highchair and kids pack and menu for Violet.
She immediately loved flicking through the activities and practising her colouring whilst we looked over the menu. It’s such a relief when there is something to keep her busy on the table!
Something I really loved about the Chiquito menu was the choice of veggie options. Often veggies are overlooked when it comes to Mexican food, but it seemed the menu was pretty balanced with loads of options to choose from for us all. Our friends aren’t veggie so it was good to see what they chose and whether the meat options were good too!
Onto our starters, we ordered:
Halloumi Skewers (With onions and peppers, baked and served over a citrus dressed salad with salsa)
Chilli Empanadas (Crispy tortilla parcels served with sour cream filled with either veg chilli, chicken or beef chilli)
and TWO portions of the Jalapeño Poppers (Breaded jalapeños filled with cream cheese and served with a pot of jalapeño jelly) as they are SO amazingly tasty.
The starters were the perfect way to kick off our Mexican Feast, washed down of course with a few Mocktails and Milkshakes along the way. I loved how they have an extensive cocktail AND mocktail list, so even though I wasn’t able to drink, it didn’t feel like I was missing out on the cocktail action either.
Onto the main courses. I have always found that ordering vegetarian fajitas is a bit hit and miss at Mexican restaurants, it seems they are usually just an afterthought or a token veggie dish that not much effort goes into so I’m often left disappointed. I ordered the Seasoned Roasted Veg option (Skewered and perfectly seasoned) and wondered if I’d feel the same, but I was not disappointed at all. The dish came still sizzling from the kitchen, the smell was AMAZING. The dish also came with a generous amount of sides, such as sour cream, cheese, guacamole and salsa to create the perfect fajita. Perfection!
V went for the Burrito option, the great thing about this is there is a ‘Build your own’ section, so you can tailor make each dish to your tastes, you choose your tortilla (from Chimichanga, Tacos, Enchilada or Burrito) then add a filling, then choose your heat. Seriously impressed with this, especially with the two veggie filling options too. She went for a Mushroom Burrito with BBQ sauce, but I think next time I’d give Five Bean Tacos (with hot sauce) a go!
There were also classic Mexican dishes on the menu like the Chicken Baja Bowl (Chicken breast, roasted veg and rice in coconut sauce served in a tortilla bowl, topped with sour cream and a chilli pepper) and of course Chilli – which comes in both a meat and vegetarian option.
We added a few sides to our order with Sweet Potato Fries and Corn on the Cobs being the most popular. The perfect accompaniment to our feast.
Violet is now old enough to have her own dinner too. We ordered her the Cod Fingers and Fries – all dishes from the kids menu include a main, side and dessert and drink for £4.95 which is excellent value for money. I tried some of Violet’s dish and I was impressed with how fresh and high quality the ingredients were. They hadn’t loaded it with salt and other seasoning, which is often something I hate about kids menu’s. She had a fruit shoot with her meal and a treat of ice cream with fruit salad, so I felt like she’d had a treat with some good fruit, veg and nutrients too. It’s all about the balance.
Violet also made a complete mess, throwing food on the floor, putting sticky chocolate ice cream fingers everywhere and the staff were lovely, clearing it all up for us immediately, saying they had kids so they could relate. It really puts me at ease when staff are understanding about these things, rather than being annoyed by it!
Stuffed from our feast, we decided to share a portion of Churros for our pudding with some coffees. They came served with fresh strawberries and the most delicious chocolate sauce.
Overall, we had a fab meal at Chiquitos, it’s a great family friendly place for a lunch or early dinner – with a great cocktail menu for a night out too. It’s a shame we don’t have one closer to us in Brighton, but the one in Crawley is right near the retail park so if we are ever in the area for a shopping trip or to go to the cinema, it’s definitely a place I’d consider going to again for another tasty meal!
You can find your local Chiquito restaurant and book a table here.