Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from goo.gl/Ta4oAX.
Published October 12th 2013
That's a Wrap, Amigo
After Blockbusters went into administration, the familiar blue shop residing on the corner of Wimbledon Broadway closed down in February 2013. It was not long until work began inside the empty building, and as I watched it gutted out, I wondered what was going to replace our movie rental business.
A few months later that same corner was once again flashing big bright colours. Bold blue had been replaced by scheme of traffic lights and suave black panelling.
Now Wimbledon is already saturated with restaurants - the Broadway alone is full to the gills with Thai, Chinese, Italian, Indian, Japanese, and traditional British pubs - but Mexican is new (we did briefly have a Mexican restaurant by the Odeon, but that closed down a while ago), and demanded my attention.
I admit, I was negligent for the first few months, never getting around to a visit, but after a trip to the cinema with my dad, I decided now was the time to do.
Chimichanga is named after a popular Mexican dish that consists of a variety of fillings wrapped up in a deep fried flour tortilla. The word sounds conveniently bombastic and friendly too, which is just what this restaurant is.
Walking in from the cold, dark, pouring rain, I was immediately radiated in warm earthy colours: fiery orange seats, woody brown walls, golden starlight hanging from the ceiling. The additional sombreros, cacti plants, and Latina music reaffirmed my belief that we had entered Mexico.
We arrived at about quarter to six, when it was fairly empty, but within an hour, the place was bustling. It didn't feel crowded though. All the tables might have been occupied, but the windy snake-like layout gives everyone their own personal space. Chimichanga has a wide customer base. Every table was occupied by someone different: two ladies, two blokes, a young family, a group of friends - no matter what your age or gender, Chimichanga has sauce appeal.
Perhaps that has to do with the staff, who were very attentive. Since it was our first time there, we needed a while to absorb the menu; despite sending the waiters away several times, they never tired or left us hanging, and were there when finally ready to order. They also were quick to spot an empty glass or plate, always taking away anything we'd finished, to leave us more room. For the incredible service, I was pleasantly surprised that service charge is only added for parties of more than seven (and even then it is optional).
So down to the food. Chimichanga specialises in tortillas, which are served with Mexican rice and black beans. The two-step process allows you to choose how you want your tortilla served (fried, layered, baked,) and then which fillings you want. These include chicken, pork, prawns, chilli, or a speciality tortilla burger.
They do a lot more than just tortilla though. You can also get sea bass, wraps, paella, chilli con carne, salads, fajitas, and big meaty chargrills. The main courses range from £9.95-£16.95, while the appetisers are £2.95-£5.95.
Dad and I chose Chaimi's Combo sharing platter for our starter, which included loaded chorizo potato skins, spring rolls, jalapeño bullets, and chicken wings in barbecue sauce
The first I tried from the selection was a loaded potato skin, which were pretty dry on their own, but perfect with the accompanying sour cream. A 'hot' chilli sauce (which was actually very mild) also came with the platter, matched beautifully with the spring rolls. The chicken wings were cooked just right - very moist, and not at all tough. My favourite out of the selection though, were the jalapeños, which were deep fried and filled with cream cheese.
Ribs & Chicken Chargrill
For his main, Dad picked the rib & Cajun chicken chargrill for £14.95: half a rack of sticky ribs, a chicken breast topped with bacon and jack cheese, and rice on the side (you can also choose fries or salad).
Focaccia & Olives
I went for two smaller appetisers, a portion of olives and a slice of focaccia bread dressed with chilli oil, both of which were £2.95. When I asked what types of olives they did, the waitress said it was a mixture of black and green, but since I don't like black olives, she asked if I would just like the green ones.
The olives had a lovely spicy fruit flavour, but were a bit too strong for just one person. I would have shared them if Dad ate olives. The focaccia was equally nice, but I would not call it focaccia. It was really just white toast to be honest, and the 'hot' chilli oil was again, not hot at all. I think they do this so as not to scare off heat wimps, and it wasn't much of a problem, because they have a bottle of chilli pepper sauce on the table to help yourself to.
Canela Churro Sundae
Last but not least came dessert. You have a choice of cheesecakes, churros, ice cream, fritters, and brownies. While Dad settled for a Tia Maria coffee, I went for a Canela Churro Sundae. This twist on a classic swapped chocolate Flakes with crispy churro doughnuts, and vanilla ice cream for an exciting cinnamon flavour. It was the perfect refresher after a hot meal.
Chimichanga is definitely a restaurant I want to go to again, and that's not just because we were given a 20% off voucher for our next visit. Friendly staff, tasty food, and a lively yet cosy atmosphere makes Chimi's a great place to take a chum.