There’s one question that I constantly change my answer to - ‘what’s your favourite food’?. One day it’s Mexican; the next, it’s Italian. Chimayo in Fulham, however, happens to specialize in both. Great news for my indecisiveness...awful news for my waistline.
The Venue and Atmosphere
Chimayo gave their venue a bit of a fresh start this year with a change in decoration, and boy - they didn’t hold back. They went bright and bold with their colour scheme...to the point that you might need to wear darkened sunglasses to let your eyes adjust. The walls are painted with vibrant sketches inspired by Day of the Dead - the famous Mexican holiday. On closer inspection, sugar skulls, burning orange suns and dancing skeletons take residence amongst the blue background, and cream leather-lined seating runs along the outer walls to maximise space. The evening we visited, it was pretty quiet, so I can’t comment too much on the atmosphere; but with a nightclub and members’ bar downstairs, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that this place comes alive when the sun sets.
The Food and Drinks
Chimayo launched a new menu the very weekend we visited, and after being informed of the new additions, there was one dish in particular that caught our interest - the duck tacos £7.95. Housed in a soft open faced tortilla and packed with juicy meat in a sweet soya and honey glaze; it wouldn’t come as a shock if this turns into one of the venue’s most popular dishes. Now that I’ve given my favourite dish of the night a shout out - let me tell you about the starters. Not necessarily Mexican or Italian, we ordered the chicken wings £5 and the chicharron £5. The wings came out tender in a sticky orange habanero sauce with plenty of meat to tear off the bone, and although the chicharron was too dry for me, its portion was generous with thickly cut sweet potato fries and generous crispy chunks of slow cooked pork belly.
For mains, we obviously decided to have the best of both worlds, and ordered the char-grilled corn fed chicken fajitas £12.50 and the margherita pizza £6.50, for a taste of both Mexico and Italy. The artisan pizza was one of the best I’ve had in London (and I’ve eaten a lot of pizza). Stone baked and hand stretched, the base was thin, crowned with a rich tomato sauce and piping hot mozzarella, and the puffed up crust kept everything in place. The chicken fajitas were just as impressive, served sizzling with soft tortillas fresh guacamole, sour cream and salsa.
The drinks menu at Chimayo is surprisingly impressive. They have a whole host of signature gin and tonic cocktails that are served in goblet-sized glasses, coming in at £9 a pop. And being Mexican-focused, they have six different margaritas to get you revved up for a big night out. My friend sampled the Jalepeno £14, made with Kah and Patron tequila, St Germain Elderflower Liqueur, agarve nectar, freshly squeezed lime juice, and a splash of orange juice, while I went for the Organica £12. It married Kah tequila, freshly squeezed lime juice and organic agave nectar. Made with precision and top drawer ingredients, it’s the kind of cocktail to sip and savour.
So, to answer today’s cutting question on what my favourite food is; sorry, but I can’t decide. The Italian stone-baked pizza was just too good and the Mexican fajitas too damn satisfying. Although we resisted FOMO and went home after our feast, Chimayo proved itself to be one of the funnest places to hit if you’re looking to start early with some food and stay out late for some dancing.