Review: Chiquito, Peterborough (Hampton)

Note – this review took place during a staff training session with complimentary meals, only drinks were paid for.

I first heard Chiquito were planning on opening a restaurant in Peterborough back in May, so when they invited me to one of their pre-opening staff training sessions for their new Mexican restaurant near Hampton in Peterborough, I of course  jumped at the chance to review the restaurant and headed over to see what they had to offer.

Skip to the address and phone number or just read on…

The paint’s barely had time to dry but inside it’s plain to see a lot of time and thought has gone into the decor.  A high ceiling dotted with soft lighting and an extensive use of wood give the restaurant a rustic feel, almost that of a converted barn even though only a few months ago this part of Cygnet Park opposite Serpentine Green was undeveloped land.

The dining area has a large round table as a focal point in the centre which is surrounded by smaller tables. The large table is ideal for parties of around 6-8 people so ask for this table when you make a reservation!

We were given a complimentary portion of nacho chips whilst looking through the menu which is something I always appreciate from Mexican restaurants.  The cost to the restaurant is minimal, but it’s a nice touch and gets you into the Mexican spirit.

The Food

As a self-titled chilli head I usually hunt out the hottest thing on the menu…

Of course you don’t go to Chiquito’s just to admire the nicely upholstered chairs or their choice of building materials, you go there for the food and drink.  For many, Mexican food conjures up visions of sizzling fajitas, smoky burritos and baked enchiladas and here Chiquito doesn’t disappoint.  The menu still has more to offer however, including burgers, pastas and salads.

As a self-titled chilli head I usually hunt out the hottest thing on the menu – at Chiquito it’s the Pollo del Fuego (fiery chicken), but for those more sensitive to chilli and spice don’t worry, here the emphasis is definitely on flavour more than heat so it’s suitable for all the family.

For our starters we chose Chipotle meatballs and a portion of deep filled Potato skins.  Both were very tasty however the meatballs could have had a stronger chipotle chilli flavour for my tastes.  I would order the meatballs again but would ask for them to be made with extra chilli!  The grilled cornbread served with the meatballs was a surprise as it was slightly sweet, but it was nice and worked with the dish.

Next up, mains.

I ordered the sizzling combo fajitas (choosing classic chicken and steak) whilst my wife had the chimichangas, which are similar to a flour tortilla parcel like a burrito, but fried.  The fajitas certainly lived up to their sizzling description with the smoke setting off the fire alarms on several occasions, much to the amusement of other diners.
The meat was served on an incredibly hot skillet with roasted onions and peppers whilst the five flour tortillas were kept warm in a lidded bowl.  Accompanying the fajitas were servings of guacamole, soured cream and a salsa plus a bowl of salad and grated cheese.  There was so much going on with the fajitas it would be hard to find room on the table if you both ordered them!

The two large chimichanga’s were crisp on the outside and filled with soft shredded beef which had a really rich taste.  For me, the chimichanga’s had the edge on the fajitas, definitely less messing around (but that’s half the fun of the fajitas) and I preferred the taste.  I last had shredded beef in soft tacos whilst in Mexico and the chimichanga brought the memories back.

Both the fajita and the chimichanga portions were generous and could easily be shared between two if you added on a couple of side dishes.

As the mains were brought to our table I asked the server for some hot sauce but was disappointed to see the hottest they had was Cholula Original.  Yes I’m being fussy, but I feel there are much more suitable Mexican “hot” hot sauces available, so hopefully Chiquito will give this some consideration.  If a customer wants to burn their mouth with a super spicy sauce, let them – you’ll sell more bottles of Corona as a result…

By the time I finished my main course I was so full I was pretty sure I didn’t need a desert, but on spotting churros on the menu I soon found room – 8 doughnut style cinnamon fingers and a pot of warm chocolate sauce to dip them in. Pure heaven!  My wife ordered the single shot Banoffee Pie which surprised as it was warm.  The desert shots are a great option if you’re too full for a big desert but just want something sweet to finish your meal.

The cost of the food bill (including two side dishes) came to a reasonable £46.

Drinks

It’s not just about the food at Chiquito, they do a great selection of cocktails and beers too.  If you like your Tequila, you should try the Patron XO – a coffee flavoured tequila which is similar in taste to Tia Maria, but with a kick!

Summary

As this was only a training day, it’s hard to say how the experience will be on a regular night but from what I saw I think Peterborough is in for a treat.  Some of the staff were noticeably nervous at serving the public for the first time but considering some had no previous experience in the hospitality industry, everyone did a fantastic job.

If you like your food spicy, I would definitely recommend you ask for it to be made spicier.  Unfortunately Chiquito have to cater for wimps those more sensitive to chilli so the fire is toned down.  That said, this was still probably the best Mexican food I’ve had in Peterborough – and it’s a chain restaurant!

Chiquito is perfect for groups as well as a cosy table for two, I can imagine once the drinks start to flow the atmosphere will get quite energetic so if you’re after a quiet meal ask for a table away from the centre of the restaurant.

Contact Details

Cygnet Park
Hampton
Peterborough
PE7 8FD (map)
Telephone: 01733 898540
Website: Book online at www.chiquito.co.uk

19 Replies to “Review: Chiquito, Peterborough (Hampton)”

  1. I ordered the chimichangas after reading your review, very tasty. We also had one of the sharing platters to start and were given a bowl of complimentary nachos each. We had a side of wedges as well. All washed down with bottles of Corona.

    Personally it was a bit too much for me and I would definitely agree that a couple could comfortably share a main with a side dish or two. That’s not something I admit lightly either as I have a huge appetite!

    Best bit for me was enjoying some fresh home made salsa. I’ve had enough salsa from a squeeze bottle to almost put me off, but chiquitos appeared to be made on site (which you would expect from a Mexican restaurant of course) – fresh, cool, crunchy and delish.

  2. Debbie, Luke (2.5 year old son) and I went to Chiquitos in Hampton on Sunday for an early dinner.

    We were very impressed with the decor once inside. The restaurant was around 2/3 full but we were told there’d be a ten minute wait and were shown to the bar where a few families were also waiting. Presumably this was to pace service rather than a bums on seats issue.

    The menu looks good and caters for those looking for Mexican food and those with more conservative tastes with a good selection of burgers and salads.

    We were seated near a till which proved to be a blessing as our server seemed stretched to cover her area. Our drink order and food was taken quickly as we had already perused the menu. I ordered the beef chimichangas, Debbie the chicken burger and Luke had the kids pizza. The complimentary nachos arrived some 10 minutes later although she was good enough to fetch some more for us without being asked.

    There was some confusion with the food. I noticed that a large table near to us had a few starters tabled and there seemed to be a little confusion over a meal which ended up with the plate being tipped and a pot of salsa sent crashing to the floor with an impressive splatter radius which managed to hit my coat some 10 feet away much to the crushing embarrassment of the server who was responsible.

    Debbie’s chicken burger was served and then nothing for a few minutes until Luke’s pizza arrived. Again, I noticed a commotion at the nearby table and a server picked up a plate of food from their table and made her way to ours with a lady at the table joking “I’ve already taken a bite!”. Apparently my chimichangas had been taken to the wrong table. I’m not overly fussy but this did put me off a little. I didn’t like the idea of my food being sat in front of someone else for 5 minutes but it seemed somewhat churlish to demand another plate when the staff were so obviously stretched.

    The food itself was great so no complaints there. Our server vanished so I had to ask her for a drink refill when she stopped by the till to put through orders. I struggled with the chimichangas and had to leave almost 2/3 of one. You could easily share them with a side order or two. They were delicious though.

    It took a while for the table to be cleared and we had to ask the server again for our desert when she was putting more orders through. She took Luke’s desert order then started processing other tickets. I managed to catch her before she scuttled off again to place my desert order as she forgot to ask!

    Overall it was a very good experience. It would be the world of a joyless critic to rant about the actual service. The restaurant is just over a week old and its clear that many staff don’t have a lot of experience. Our server was very apologetic when I paid “I’m sorry I haven’t been around a lot…” and she did try hard when we did see her.

    I would definitely recommend the food, though. I can’t wait to go again.

  3. Yeah I really got to to say that this place is a breath of fresh air for boro, the food was just utterly amazing and I was upset I couldn’t have it all! There was a great selection to choose from and not one part of the 4 choices I picked disappointed! The atmosphere also made the meal one of my favourites for a long time, the decor and the feel of the place is extremely well thought through and as for the service, wel big up to steve our waiter, awesome service and always there to explain and give advice as what to have, also I mean this in the nicest possible way but it was rather nice to see all the staff were of british nationality as at times when I have been to the other mexican in town centre I’ve had the wrong order or the waitresses struggle to understand what I was saying so good call on the British staff, they all looked like they were enjoying being there which also makes for a great atmosphere.
    In fact I’m booked in again this Friday and again for my birthday next month which I plan on gettin rather drunk on the tequila ha ha ha!
    100% you should go to this place, can not fault it!

  4. I have visited a couple of times and find the biggest problem is to get a table, I have been told on the telephone that it is not possible to pre book a table and to ” just come down” when we arrived we were told the wait for a table was just a little over two hours!? The resturant was only half full so I can only assume the kitchen is too small for the size of the resturant, this was not an isolated incident, friends waited over two hours in the bar and then left still having not been given a table, maybe it is a ploy to increase bar sales?
    That said on the two times we did manage to get a table the service was good and the food reasonably so.

  5. Hi John, I tried to book a table around Christmas/New Year and were told they were fully booked so should just turn up but it was intended to be for a group so we didn’t bother in the end. I’ve also visited Chiquito another time without a reservation and had to wait around 45 minutes at the bar, which wasn’t a problem as we weren’t in a rush – but those turning up after us were being told waiting times were much longer.
    I wonder if the restaurant is too small or they’re short staffed?

  6. I left this restaurant about an hour ago.
    I arrived at around 4.30pm the restaurant was not even half full yet we had to wait 25mins for a table. It was almost an hour before we received our food, I ordered a scampi wrap and my husband had tiger prawn fajitas. I had ordered mine with salad and it arrived with chips, the waitress got it changed straight away for me. The scampi tasted frozen and the sauce was disgusting so i decided not to eat it, my husband ate the prawns but said the rest was awful and so he left it. We ended up leaving almost full plates which cost us £40.00. I was so angry I called the restaurant when I got home (not that it did any good but it made me feel better).

    By far the worst food and most shocking service in the area.

  7. Hi Sarah,
    I don’t think waiting 25 minutes for a table is unreasonable if you’d not made a reservation (had you?). A few others have said about waiting times even though the restaurant isn’t at capacity so I wonder if they’ve not got the staff levels quite right yet – they have only been open for a few weeks (which of course isn’t the fault of the customers!).
    When you called the restaurant, what was their response? You really should have explained whilst you were there, or the person taking your plates away should have asked why you’d left everything. I wouldn’t have paid for food I didn’t eat!

  8. Have been to chiquitos @ Peterborough a couple of times now,found staff friendly,during my visits,have found that stock levels for various cocktail ingredients had ran out !! The place was always busy and have found that the bar/seating area is too small and seats are lacking,especially if waiting on average an hour to be seated. I understand that chiquitos @ Peterborough is still in the “wow its new” stage,so hope things calm down in the coming months,as don’t want/like to wait for my food πŸ™ but will just say that food has always been great and portions are pretty generous.

  9. My girlfriend told me that a friend of hers went last weekend and left after an hour of waiting for a table, despite the place only being half full! Hopefully they get this sorted out as they are just a chain restaurant and there are other alternatives for Mexican food. I recommend Chimichanga in town, been twice now and always got a table, great food and service too. Cocos is my other fav, their chilli burger is awesome!

  10. I had a similar experience with the waiting times, i had nearly an hour waiting and there were loads of empty tables.

    Took the missus there for a treat and the food was so bad we left most of it and went over to Frankie and Bennies across the road.

    I didnt complain when I was there but I wish I had of done.

    I agree with Martin Coco’s is much better.

  11. Cheers for your comment Ian – yes you absolutely should have complained when you were there, certainly at the time of paying! Restaurants need to know when they’re not meeting customer’s expectations as their success depends on it. When it’s your own money you have to choose wisely and there’s plenty of competition for your cash!

  12. Please do not forget Chiquito is still a new restaurant. I have been three times so far and have yet to be let down. The food is absolutely brilliant and the service is fantastic. Yes I know the wait times are very long, especially at the weekend as I have over-heard the friendly chap on the front door give people wait times in excess of an hour; for that reason I have booked every time since my first experience. When ringing to book yesterday, I was told they are already fully booked for next weekend which shows its popularity! Service has certainly improved since the new year, and when I visited this weekend I was pleased to see tables in the bar area being used for table service. My advice, if you don’t want to wait for a table, book plenty in advance. Anyhow, I believe the wait is well worth it. The atmosphere is superb, the decor being incredible! It is certainly value for money aswell with the 2 courses for £10 on weeknights aswell as a good priced lunch menu. If you had a bad experience before, give them another chance. I did, and cannot get enough of it!

  13. I wish they would make it clear that the cheap lunch time meals only apply if you specifically ask for it. I paid £10 for a tiny salad and my total bill came to £40. I only went there because it was too cold to stand outside and eat a sandwich.

  14. Simon, you shouldn’t have paid if the bill wasn’t what you expected. Your server should have explained the different menus when you were shown to your table, so that’s their fault, not yours!

  15. My family and I were very excited to be coming here for our first time this evening. I am sad to say that this did not last long..
    The sharing platter was really enjoyable but then sat looking at empty plates for twenty minutes before being cleared and having to ask them to do so. When they did so, the waiter happily scraped the plates on the table in front of us before taking them away.
    The main courses, well to be honest was a mixed bag .. some parts were lovely and other parts poor to the extent where some aspects were inedible. I was informed one part of my meal had been dropped on the floor so had to wait for it to be cooked again. I could elaborate on all the meals but to sum up..
    We were so disappointed with the poor service here and mediocre quality of food that I can say in all certainty that we shall not be going again.
    Some credit to the manager, she did listen to our complaints and gave us a discount on the bill. However having said that, as a manager I feel she should already have been aware of many of the issues of the service , yet appeared surprised at our many comments of the evening. There was a definite atmosphere of poor moral amongst staff and I heard other customers commenting on the poor service.
    It is such a shame as I did have high hopes but found the experience drastically lacking and we shall not be going again.

  16. went to Hampton Chiquitos end of Jan for my birthday. Starters took 45 mins to arrive and then the mains another 45 mins. My partner is vegetarian for health reasons and ordered 5 bean chili enchiladas. When they eventually came, they were chicken filled. This could have made my partner very ill if not noticed. Complained to manager and got a discount. Also complained to head office and area manager sent me a £30 VIP voucher to try the restaurant again as she was sure this was only a blip. Went back on Friday 2nd March and things were passable until the waitressbought me my drink (Becks instead of San Miguel). When I sent it back was told it was all they had as they had run out of San Miguel. When it came to ordering the deserts, they had also run out of the dsesert I wanted. I explained we were giving the restaurant a second chance and why (showing them the apology letter from the area manager) and they called the floor manager. He apologised and gave us the remainder of the bill for free. GAve them 2 chances and they failed. Who runs out of their signature beer and deserts on the busiest night of the week? To be honest will not be using them or Frankie and Bennies (same parent company) ever again. VERY P0OOR AND DISSAPPOINTING

  17. Hi

    We have just left Chiquitos the meals were great as were the drinks but unfortunately we waited and waited for service, then had our orders taken and then waited and waited again on top of that not really busy. We have experienced this 3 times before so that’s it we will move on elsewhere. By the comments listed above this is a common occurrence.

  18. We have tried this restaurant for the first time tonight with friends and were not disappointed we had the sharing platter for starter then 4 different main courses, all lovely, all well served and no long waits between courses despite the restaurant being full. We would definitely use here again.

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