The surprise was dinner for two at a new Mexican restaurant, Chimichanga, in Peterborough city centre. Awesome Dude had no trouble finding the restaurant so consequently we arrived 40 minutes early.
From the moment we stepped in, I felt that we were in for a special evening indeed. The simplicity of the decor seemed to transcend itself to a level of sophistication that made me feel a bit self-conscious. For a minute I thought we would be asked to leave as we were not suitably attired.
Not only were we not cast out, we were greeted warmly by a hostess who wasn’t the slightest bit put off by our early arrival. She was very friendly and engaged us in chitchat as she showed us to our table and took our coats. Our waitress was also attentive and we felt as if she was there for us and us alone. After giving her our drinks order, we had a look at the menu.
After a few moments, we realised we had a problem on our hands. Everything sounded really, really good. Should I get the Jalapeno Bullets? Nachos? Crab Cakes? If I was having this much trouble with just the starters, you can imagine the anguish I had trying to pick a main course. The wraps looked promising? A paella maybe? How about something off the grill? Decisions, decisions.
By the time we got our drinks, we had finally made our choices. For starters, Awesome Dude ordered Texas Fries. This consisted of a generous portion of straight cut chips smothered in chilli and covered in cheese. I ordered Buffalo Hot Wings. They were beautifully seasoned and the chef managed to strike the delicate balance between tangy and spicy. They left my mouth tingly but not painful. Fabuloso.
Next up, the main event. Mexican paella for him, tiger prawn fajitas for me. The paella, a rice dish which included chicken, tiger prawns and chorizo sausage arrived in a bowl large enough for me to soak my delicates in. My main course was brought out in stages. Arriving first in a sizzling iron skillet, the tiger prawns were carefully placed on the table. They were nestled on a brightly-coloured bed of red and green peppers and red onions. The fragrant aroma that rose from the scorching hot skillet was divine. I could easily have sat there all night just inhaling the intoxicating perfume, lost in my own thoughts. A culinary aromatherapy session, of sorts. Then came the tortillas and the toppings: pico de gallo, shredded Monterey jack cheese, sour cream and guacamole. Once the meal had been served, the waitress did a final check to make sure we had everything we needed to enjoy our meal and then left us to it.
The chef really knows his way around the spice rack. As with the Buffalo Hot Wings, the perfect balance between flavour and piquancy had been achieved. And the portions were just right, for me anyway. My husband though was having a little trouble with his paella. As I mentioned, his portion was certainly generous and though he really enjoyed it, in the end he had to admit defeat. Putting his fork down, my husband muttered that this wasn’t over and vowed to return to do battle again. I smiled politely as my thoughts turned towards dessert.
After wallowing in decadent fragrances and flavoursome cuisine, it was time to change the record and order something light and sweet. Key Lime Pie looked like a good candidate so I opted for that. The light, creamy texture and citrusy flavour was the perfect counterpoint to the meal we had just had. I offered a bite to my husband but he just glared at me.
This restaurant definitely made on to my hit list of favourites and I will be returning with other family members and friends in tow. Thank you, dear husband. (I can’t wait to see what he has in mind for our real anniversary.)