Chiquito, Durham, is based in the city's Walkergate complex along with several cafes, bars and restaurants near to the central library and Gala theatre. They've had a 'kids eat free' promotion over the summer holidays which has encouraged me to visit a few times recently.
Chiquito is part of a national chain that offers Mexican food. The decor in this one works hard at being Mexican, some might say too hard. There's a lot of dark brown wood, clay pots, sun artwork, plenty of plants, photos and rustic folk bits. The colours are terracotta, brown, reds and yellows. Mexican voices sing from the speakers to booths, tables and the bar where comfy looking sofas beckon, (children aren't allowed in the bar side). There's a large downstairs area, a more intimate mezzanine level where the toilets are located, and a handful of tables outside. The toilets are fairly typical of pub toilets - three cubicles, clean enough, nothing especially lush. There are some disabled toilets on the ground floor, but apparently they are not that easy to get into, being located behind heavy fire doors. Lunch
Both lunch and main menu's have plenty of choice. The lunch menu offers a main meal for £5.99 with a choice of soft drink for £1.50, combined with a free meal for a child this seems good value. On my last visit I chose the vegetable chilli enchiladas. These come served on a bed of rice with garnish. I liked the rice which was lightly spiced and chewy, but there wasn't very much of it. The two enchiladas didn't have much heat, but they were still pretty tasty. The filling was mainly beans and pulses. Having had this dish a couple of times I've noticed that the garnish varies with the chef, I preferred the original salad garnish to the coriander garnish on my second visit, ( the ubiquity of coriander distresses me). The enchiladas are quite small which makes for a light lunch, although if you receive complimentary nachos beforehand it's sufficient, I once ordered a side of chips, but was too full to eat them after having had nachos too. Dessert
I have tried the churros for dessert. These are priced at £3.99 and described as: Delicious soft dough fried until crispy, dusted with cinnamon sugar. Served with warm chocolate fudge sauce for dipping. I have to say I was disappointed. The flavour and texture reminded me of sweet waffles, but the shape and the fat I could feel oozing off them made me feel I may as well be dipping chips into chocolate sauce. The sauce was okay but nothing special. I can't recall any other occasion on which I haven't enjoyed a dish that involves chocolate, but in this case by the time I finished I felt I'd been forcing these down for the sake of it.Kids Menu
This is usually priced at £4.99 for a main meal, dessert and drink. My daughter tends to opt for the fish fingers and chips, it's a decent sized plate of food; four fingers with chunky chips cooked in the skin, a few beans or other token 5-a-day effort wouldn't go amiss. The ice cream is generally two scoops in a large bowl and might be sprinkled with powdered sugar, depends on the day.