Food Mood: Chinita, B'lore

A bunch of friends and I were looking to try out some Mexican food on a Sunday afternoon. Having visited most of the places in our vicinity, we chose to drive up to Indiranagar to try out Chinita. We had heard so much about it from various people. We arrived to find the place packed and two parties waiting ahead of us to get a table. Since we had driven all the way, we decided to just wait. I’m quite delighted that we didn’t choose to go elsewhere.


When we got a table after about twenty minutes, we immediately ordered some Fresh Lime Sodas and I tried the Mexican Spiced Hot Chocolate. (Well, we all know my love for Hot Chocolate). While the drink could have been a little hotter, the level of spice with the chocolate was a very interesting flavour. I’m not too sure how many people would take a liking to this drink though.  I’ve tried spicy chocolates before, but this was not as disappointing.  After a night of drinking, this was quite refreshing.

Fresh Lime Soda

Mexican Spiced Hot Chocolate

We started out with a plate of Veg Quesadilla. I must say that this is one cheesy guilty pleasure. Coupled with the dips (which were the highlight of every dish of the meal), this is a definite must have. The dish meets the right balance of crispiness and softness and the hot cheese just melts in your mouth. We also ordered for a plate of Grilled Corn. This was yet another spicy yet cheesy treat of sweet corn on the cob. Just add a dash of lemon to this and go crazy.

Veg Quesadilla

Grilled Corn
My friend ordered the Burrito Bowl with Grilled Beef. While the Burrito Bowl is the Mexican cousin of our Rajma-chaawal, the beef was grilled quite well and despite being slightly large in size was not overly chewy. The salsa added a nice zing to the dish. We ordered a burrito and some tacos as well. I ordered the Tostadas with the Pan-seared Prawns. While this is a rather messy dish to eat because the tortilla base is very thin, it has a very interesting albeit not-so-spicy flavour thanks to the combination of the red cabbage and mayo. I added some of the spicy Habanero dip to it to give it a little more kick. But that’s a personal choice since I prefer my Mexican food to be on the spicier side.

Burrito Bowl

Tostadas with Pan-Seared Prawns

During our meal, we got to speak to Candice Lock Mirchandani, one of the owners who turned out to have a Kuala Lumpur connection with one of my friends who had joined us, who stays in KL. They got into an intense discussion on why the habanero chillies here are nothing compared to what they get in the U.S and discussed how they could turn the Tex-mex style of the restaurant into a hardcore Mexican styled joint. She even whipped up her spiciest batch of Habanero sauce, to which both agreed fell very short of the usual spicy standards of the chilly that was available elsewhere.

For the dessert, we tried the Flan which was not memorable at all. But the hit of the entire meal was the Chocolate Chilli Cake with Ice Cream. I implore you, dear reader, to head to this place to try this dish over the weekend. While some might find the thought of combing the two distinct flavours into a dessert uncomfortable, this dessert just blew my mind apart. The spiciness of the cake hits the front of your tongue immediately. As you swallow the piece, it is quickly replaced by the nice cocoa flavour of the chocolate on the centre of your tongue. The ice cream is a definite requirement for someone who can’t handle too much spice. This cake was a perfect way to close the meal.

Flan

Chilli Chocolate Cake with Ice Cream

Overall, while Chinita is a small restaurant, it’s a refreshing taste from a lot of the larger Tex-mex brands in the city. I am definitely going back to try out other dishes on the menu, but more importantly, to have the Chilli Chocolate Cake. If I had to point out something I felt was lacking, I do wish they would try to go towards the more mainstream Mexican style of cooking and drift away from the milder Tex-Mex style of food. Other than that,  Chinita is my new favourite place for Mexican food.

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Food Pix: Home-made meal by Arunava Banik