A somewhat scattered collection of notes, thoughts and ideas

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Reviews and Recommendations: Chiquito Restaurant Bar & Mexican Grill

As promised, here is my post review about our dinner at Chiquito Restaurant Bar & Mexican Grill last Tuesday,14th June. I have had a bit of feedback that my last review was a bit longwinded so I will keep that in mind with this one.


First impressions
As I always do for our Meetup dinners, I booked a table for us; this time through the online website. The procedure was simple enough and within minutes I had a confirmation of my reservation for 5 people at 8pm. We had chosen to go to the Chiquito in Hemel Hempstead. It's a reasonably new branch as it is one of the restaurants that were added onto the Jarman Park complex when it was hollowed out, refurbished and made new again.  Like with Ed's this wasn't the first time I'd been to this restaurant or branch, so I will also make some comparisons to previous visits like I did with Ed's.


Arriving at the Restaurant
As with all Chiquito restaurants, the one in Hemel Hempstead has a beautifully decked-out interior, with more than one unique feature that draws the eye even beyond the first visit.

When we arrived at the restaurant we were greeted and immediately taken to our table. The restaurant wasn't overly busy and our server attended to us immediately, taking our drinks orders. When we go for dinner as a group, there are often new members or members that we haven't seen for a while, so the first thing we tend to do is chat, and more often than not we delay placing our order with the server because of our distraction from the menu. This time was no exception, though thankfully we did already have some idea of what we wanted by the time the waiter came to us the second time. He demonstrated patience and understanding and interacted with us in a friendly way; coming to check if we needed anything throughout the meal.

Over the years that I have been to Chiquitos, the menu has changed in noticeable ways, not only the food choices expanding, but also the look of the menu. I am a very visual person so I love looking through menus with pictures, often searching for the image that represents what I am looking at ordering for my meal. From memory and experience, I would make the assumption that the menu changes somewhere between once every 6 months and one to two years, likely depending on consumer demand. The menu changes here have proven to be a positive thing as although some items may have also been taken off the menu, many have stayed the same and also been added, for example under the Fajita options, there are now more options than there used to be, thus catering for more tastes.

The meal, as expected, was delicious, and as far as I could tell I wasn't the only one who thought so. Having been there recently with one of the other girls, we commented how much more relaxed we'd been than the last time - when we had been rushing to eat before going to the cinema (granted the restaurant had been a little busier, but not full then either). Our conclusion was that the last time must have simply been a fluke as the staff on that visit had seemed more stressed than this time too, so there must have been a reason for that.


Time to leave
At the end of the meal, our server came to see if we wanted desserts, but before he could ask, we requested the bill. We weren't on a schedule this time, and the meal had been lovely, but we were too full to eat anything else. Unlike in some restaurants I have been to in the past, we didn't have to wait long and when he brought it over, he took the time to point out the [ongoing] incentive on the bill - leave a review and have the chance to win the latest iPad (unfortunately - something I noticed later on- he hadn't filled out part of the information we would need to complete the survey online). within a few minutes of handing over the bill, our server came to see who would need a card machine; it seemed we all had cash. Splitting the bill evenly between us, we decided to leave a tip and all added another £1 to the total. We left satisfied and full and eager to go again.


Recommendations for Chiquito Restaurant Bar & Mexican Grill

1. Our experience this time was great, the server was friendly and the food was fantastic. Encourage your staff to realise the importance of customer service no matter how busy the restaurant is and what stresses they have; it only takes one bad impression to put people off coming back.

2. If you want customers to fill out the feedback survey, tell your staff to make sure they fill out all the information needed for customers to do so.

Menu suggestions
For anyone considering a visit Chiquito Restaurant Bar & Mexican Grill, I would recommend trying some of the following from the menu:

Starters
My personal favourites are the Mexican Garlic Bread (with cheese), and the Jalape├▒o Poppers (formerly on the menu as Chilli Poppers), but the Baked Potato Skins are yummy too.

Mains
I used to only ever go for the Classic Chicken Fajitas, which are lovely, but since they have added the Street Food  menu option I find myself often choosing this as you can get 3 for £12.95 and they are good if you don't want something too heavy, if you are looking for something to share, or if you simply can't decide on just one.


Once again, I hope this has been helpful and please do leave me a comment with feedback.

The next Review & Recommendations post will be about Tortilla which is where we will be eating this evening. This is a restaurant I haven't actually eaten in before, so I am excited to see what it's like and review it for you, so keep an eye out for this one.
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