For my birthday this year, the husband and I decided to head to Chinita in Indiranagar for a Mexican lunch. This post is about our experience at the eatery.
Location and ambience
Chinita is a small place in Indiranagar, one among the multitude of restaurants that the locality boasts of. The eatery had been on my hit-list for quite some time, though, because of the rave reviews I had been hearing about the food here. We decided to head to Chinita because we wanted to try out the ‘authentic’ Mexican food that we heard that this place serves, vis a vis the fare at Mexican food chains like Taco Bell.
The eatery wasn’t tough to locate. We went in just a bit before the lunch rush had started, so we got seats immediately. Very soon, the place got quite crowded (it was a weekend when we visited), and I hear weekends are always like that here. They don’t accept reservations over the weekends, so you just have to head down and try your luck, like we did.
Chinita has a nice, relaxed vibe to it. It has the feel of a casual dining area, with its brick walls and wooden benches and tables. The small potted plants on each table charmed us, as did the arrangement of plants alongside the door. We also loved that the place is bright and airy, and not dull and dingy.
Mexican music was playing in full swing while we visited and, with the lunch hour noise of patrons, it was tough to hold a conversation as we ate. I wish this could be rectified, though, I must say, the music was lively and energetic and beautiful – something I’d like to listen to.
The food and drinks
Like I said before Chinita serves Mexican fare, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian.
First up, we asked for an Almond Horchata, a traditional Mexican non-alcoholic drink made of almond meal and rice. We were told that a horchata is not for everyone and that liking one needs an acquired taste, but we decided to go for one all the same. I took one sip and realised that it wasn’t for me. The husband loved it, and so the drink was duly given to him.
I went for a Virgin Margarita, with fresh lime juice and pineapple. I loved this, and sipped on it through our meal.
Then, we ordered an appetiser of Mexican-style grilled corn which is, apparently, all the rage on the streets of Mexico. The corn came beautifully done, with just the right amount of cheese and chilli powder smeared on it, served with wedges of lemon. Both the husband and I loved this dish to bits. Both of us would need one full plate of the appetiser for ourselves, though!
Then, for the main course, we opted for Roasted Cauliflower Tacos which, we were told, wasn’t a part of the regular menu, but became quite popular with the patrons when the eatery served it at Christmas-time, resulting in them still making it. The tacos were good but, we felt, the stuffing lacked the ‘Wow!’ factor – it could have done with some more flavour.
We also ordered a Sauteed Green Peppers And Onions Burrito, asking for it to be divided into two portions. Overall, we liked the burrito, but we felt, again, that the stuffing could have done with more flavour. It had too much rice in it, too. Good, but not great.
The tacos weren’t very filling, but the burrito was.
We had a little space in our tummies left by then, so we went for a Roasted Zucchini And Corn Burrito Bowl. Again, we felt that the dish was good, but not great because it lacked flavour. The dish was quite filling.
We finished up our meal with some churros (how could we not?!), served straight off the stove in a mug, with a liberal dosing of cinnamon sugar on them, along with a small cup of molten chocolate. The churros were just lovely, and both of us loved them. They were nice and crispy on the outside, soft on the inside – just perfect. The chocolate was so delicious I licked off every last bite of it!
Service was quite fast, we felt. The staff was attentive, friendly and courteous, offering suggestions and enquiring whether we liked the food at every stage through the meal.
Prices are on the higher side. We paid about INR 1600 for our meal, inclusive of taxes.
We loved the place and the service here, but our overall experience with the food was a little disappointing. Value for money, this meal didn’t feel like, sadly.
Everything we ordered was very, very fresh. However, our taste buds probably need more of a punch than that, I think.
I might go back to this place, maybe once, to try out their nachos, toastadas, enchiladas and guacamole, of which I’ve heard good things.