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Chilango, Mexican Restaurant/Takeaway – Review

BY Boon Koh
Published 7 August 2009

Chilango Restaurant storefront Rating: 5 out of 10 stars
Cuisine: Mexican street food
Price Range: £5.40 to £6-ish for a main course burrito/tacos/salad

I stumbled across Chilango quite by chance, while I was on a flat-hunting mission in the Angel Station area. Wandering up Upper Street, I spotted this establishment, one of the most reviewed and raved about in the London restaurant scene, with Time Out a particular fan. It is a place that I had read about quite some time ago, and added it to my mental list of places to go where it was soon forgotten about. But as I was feeling hungry for lunch at the time and spotting the opportunity to see what all the fuss was about, I decided to pop in for a quick lunch.

Although the restaurant has ample seating area upstairs, it is more geared towards the fast-moving professional crowd who work or live in the area. Service is very Subway-style; you start at one end of the counter, pick your meat filling, and then your veggies, rice, and sauce, and the whole burrito is wrapped up in aluminum foil. Fast and efficient, perfect for a quick office lunch. In addition to burritos, you can substitute the tortilla wrap for a 3 small tacos topped with your fillings, or a salad (for those on a carb-free diet).

As it was my first time there, I decided to go for the house special, the grilled chicken burrito (£5.40), complete with coriander rice, beans,fresh salsa, cheese, and some veggies. The whole thing was wrapped up in aluminum foil, and I chose an Aqua Fresca drink (£1.60, unlimited refills), a “traditional Mexican fruit cooler”, to go with it.

Chilango Restaurant inside The burrito was really top quality, with the char-grilled chicken full of flavour. It was also alot bigger than it looks, and was just the right size for a lunch meal. Not too big, not too small either that I would be forced to forage in the afternoon for a snack. The Aqua Fresca drink was a total disaster though. The first taste was just horrible; sour-tasting, but not in a good way, and tasting very processed and chemical-y. The drink was a bright artificial red colour, and I was shocked to see that it had started to stain the insides of the paper cup red. Imagine how many “E numbers” must be in that drink. Totally disappointing for a place trying to promote itself as a higher quality lunch place than say fast food joints such as McDonalds or Burger King.

Verdict: Despite the drink scare, the burrito was really good, and I definitely would not mind going back there again, except for the small issue of price. Despite Chilango trying to make itself more up-market, it really is just a Mexican-style subway or sandwich shop. Its high prices, with Burritos starting from £5.40, just doesn’t offer value; and the aluminum foil wrap is just tacky. In addition, although they offer guacamole, they charge extra for that if you want it in your burrito. And again, avoid the Aqua Fresca at all costs!

Address: 27 Upper Street, Angel, N1 0PN
Tel:020 7704 2123
Website: http://www.chilango.co.uk

  • Christian

    Very interesting. I just stumbled across your review. It is interesting to read about this restaurant. From what I take from it, it seems that this type of fare is something of a novelty in the UK. From your description, what it seems like to me that Chilango is not at all Mexican street fare, but rather a clone of the Mexican-American “San Francisco style Burrito” chains that are quite popular across the USA. Your description is almost exactly what you could find in a Chipotle, which is very much a Subway-style chain that serves this type of fare, complete with aluminum foil wrap and steep prices (although admittedly, with the exchange rate, 5+ quid is much more expensive than 6-7 dollars for a comparable burrito.)

    What is strange though is the “Aqua Fresca.” Aguas Frescas are common in Mexico, although they describe a beverage that are made with are a combination of either fruits, cereals, or seeds, and sugar and water. The most popular “red” variety would be Agua de Jamaica, which is made from hibiscus flower and actually when made well, is rather light, slighty sweet and refreshing. Not quite sure what the heck they served you, but I wouldn’t want to drink anything that stains the cup either! Additionally, none of the chain Burrito restaurants in the US serve this beverage, so I’m not really sure what the rationale was behind introducing this terrible sounding drink.

    Anyway, it’s interesting to see the spread of Mexican inspired cuisine across the globe. Hopefully the next place to pop up would be more price conscious. From the look of the website, there is definitely an “hip” factor in the restaurant’s image, more worried about image than actual food.

    Just in case anyone is wondering, I am a Yank living in Miami, with Mexican heritage (my father)…

  • Miguel

    Waoo!,Es exitante ver como la comida mexicana va mas alla de una aburrida cultura a lo que realmente es exotica comida con la mas alta calidad natural que solo en restaurantes mexicanos en todo el mundo podran encontrar.Chilango es el nombre que se me da a mi por ser del Df,Y Chilango el restaurante en Londres Supongo a de ser algun dueño Defequense no??,Que buen nombre para un excelente lugar de comida que aunque la gente siga diciendo que es callejera,pues no por que su exquisito sabor no se compara ni con el mas fino caviar!!,

  • Kim

    I just tried their burrito and I wasn’t impressed it was a little heavy on the cilantro which overpowered the other ingrediants and the fact that I had to pay extra for sour cream and gaucamole which should come standard in any burrito. Prices seem to be on the high side compared to what I used to get from Pancho Villa’s in San Francisco…who I think serve the best burrito’s. But it’s good to see that the Taquería has finally come to the U.K, I just don’t think that they should be trying to pass it off as gourmet mexican food when it’s not.