Valentine’s at Juan Chihuahua

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.

RoseTortillas & Salsa

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.

Margarita

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.

Quesadilla de PolloQueso Fundido

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.

FajitasBeef Enchiladas

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!

Bibi’s Cantina – A Taste of Mexico

You’d be forgiven for having not heard about Bibi’s or having walked past it without noticing it. Bibi’s is a small, Mexican restaurant based on the farther end of Partick’s Dumbarton Road. Inside the restaurant, it is a cosy affair with a couple of windows seats, soft lighting, mexican artifacts dotted around the place & a small bar situated to the right of the restaurant. The restaurant can hold around 30 covers at any one time so booking 2-3 weeks in advance for a Friday/Saturday night is not uncommon.

Margarita Shot!Tortillas & Salsa

This was our third time dining at Bibi’s but our first as part of a group. When seated, the staff bring over some tortilla chips & salsa to munch on as well as a shot of frozen margarita – all on the house! The menu changes quite often & what you see in the restaurant may be different from the website. This was the case when we went & I was a bit disappointed as I was looking forward to some shrimp tacos to start.

Black Bean & Cactus TaquitosCalamari

Instead I opted for the black bean & cactus taquitos. For those who aren’t familiar with mexican food, taquitos are like  a cross between a fajita, burrito & taco & are oven baked & stuffed with filling. I had previously tried cactus at Wahaca in London & liked the taste of it. Bibi’s version was much more subtle, with the black beans overshadowing any flavour the cactus had. I also tried one of the calamari rings with spicy aioli. The ring itself was quite chunky, a nice change from the skimpy bits of squid you often find. The aioli was pleasant but didn’t pack much of a punch.

FajitasSpicy Pork

We didn’t have much of a wait between our starters & mains which I guess is down to the small size of the restaurant. I went for good old fajitas – chicken marinated in tequila, triple sec & lime. The fajitas are accompanied by tortillas, mexican cheese, sour cream, salsa & guacamole. I had eaten the fajitas previously & they were tasty but lacking a bit of heat in them. I was not disappointed this time. The chicken & veg were flavoursome with a big of a kick to them. The guacamole was also fresh, having been made that day in house. One thing I love about getting the fajitas here is that you don’t have to worry about making your accompaniments stretch to cover your full serving. Instead, they will happily supply you will more sides & tortillas if you run out. I actually couldn’t finish my fajitas & they gave me a doggy bag to take home with some extra accompaniments too!

Chicken PicadilloTaco Station

I  tried some of the other mains within the group. The first was chicken picadillo which was shredded chicken with apples, raisins, tomatoes, olives, almonds, coriander, herbs and spices in a chipotle sauce. As you would expect this was quite fresh & fruity but not too overpowering that you lose the mexican taste to it. I also sampled the spicy shredded pork with a spicy chipolte sauce. This was very similar to the pulled pork you can find almost anywhere in Glasgow these days but the addition of the chipolte gave it a bit of depth to it. One member of our group had the taco station which involved 3 tacos with different fillings (chilli, shredded pork & veg chilli in this case) & all the accompaniments. From the picture you can see just how much food was included! Definitely not one for the faint hearted!

A couple of things I need to mention regarding Bibi’s. The first is the drinks. They do really good frozen margaritas, mainly down to the 2 slushie machines that they have churning away. They also have quite a decent selection of tequilas for sipping pre or post meal. Mines is a patron xo 🙂 Secondly, the staff are a real highlight of the dining experience. They are very attentive but not too overbearing & are happy to provide you with anything you may require during the meal.

Even if you’re not a spice fan, Bibi’s definitely has a bit of something for everything & you can always ask for the food to be made mild. Definitely one of my top restaurants in Glasgow!