Mexican is definitely one of my favourite, if not favourite cuisines so when I had heard about Juan Chihuahua opening on Sauchiehall St, it went straight to the top of list of places to try. As this was our first Valentine’s as a married couple, I wanted to actually do something rather than stay in with a takeaway so we decided to head to Juan Chihuahua.
The restaurant is based in what used to be the O Couture club & is quite a large restaurant compared to others on the street. We were actually 25 mins early as we had been out for drinks but didn’t want to rush another before dinner. We were seated straight away & that was largely due to the number of free tables – only a third of tables were occupied. The restaurant looks different from the previous outfit with a bar to the right hand side as soon as you walk in, the walls adorned with mexican paraphernalia & a number of booths & tables dotted around the floor.
As it was Valentine’s day, there were a couple of nice touches including a live Spanish singer & a rose in a bottle of tequila on the table! We ordered some margaritas (it would be rude not too) & I opted for the “skinny” margarita which in actual fact contains the same ingredients as a Tommy’s margarita which is one of the more traditional ways of mixing a margarita. The menu is quite vast, with your choice of all traditional Mexican fair including fajitas, burritos & tacos with some additional burgers & meat/fish based dishes. Our drinks arrived & I noticed mine had coffee beans on the top but when I queried it, the waitress said it was what I ordered. However, there was a language barrier as she was Spanish & in actual fact I was given a “skinny” espresso margarita which was quickly changed once I had pointed out the error. When I did get my margarita, I have to admit it was a bit disappointing as it was really sweet! There was a lot of agave syrup added to it which masked any lime flavour the drink should have.
Our starters arrived quite quickly – I had opted for the queso fundido which was a soft taco containing marinated chicken, cheese, hot sauce & mixed peppers/onions. It was well flavoured but I couldn’t help feeling there was something missing from it as it was missing that wow factor. Al opted for quesadillas de pollo, which as it sounds, a chicken quesadilla. I tried a bit of this & in all honesty, it didn’t taste too much different from my own starter, just put together in a different way. The one good point about the quesadilla is the portion of salsa that came with it which had a nice kick to it & was really moreish! On both starters, there was a side salad with a house coleslaw on it & although it tasted a bit like the sort of potato salad you get in the supermarket, it was really addictive & I found myself scoffing the lot.
Our mains took a bit longer to arrive than our starters & I was glad of this as it reassured me that the food was being prepared fresh rather than sitting waiting to go out. I had opted for something I don’t normally go for, a pulled beer enchilada which was HUGE! The beef was accompanied with red jalapenos & red onions as well as the usual refried beans, cheese & sour cream on top. I have a love hate relationship with red jalapenos as I find them too sweet but they worked really well in this dish as they didn’t overpower the taste of the beef, which was melt in the mouth tender. There was also a pot of spiced rice which did have a powdery taste to it as though the spices hadn’t been fully cooked but after a squirt of fresh lime, it transformed the taste. I couldn’t finish all of my enchilada as it was just so big. Al had mixed fajitas (beef, chicken & shrimp) which came in an overflowing skillet with a cute tray with 4 portions of sides. As often with restaurants these days, the fajitas only came with 4 tiny tortillas which quickly vanished but it was made up by the fact that the tortillas were fresh & not shop bought.
If you are a mexican food lover, I would definitely recommend Juan Chihuahua as the food was fresh & not to mention the portions were large. Maybe some tweaks on their cocktails to refine the flavour but given that all of the juice in them is freshly squeezed, you can forgive a bit of sweetness here & there!