Chico’s Burgers – Cricklewood
Despite its relative discreteness, what sets Chico’s Burgers apart from the many other burger places on the busy high street of Cricklewood Broadway, is its claim in offering “Gourmet Burgers”.
In fact, we don’t know of any others that do, which, in turn, raises the inevitable question: do they really?
The place itself is relatively small with space for around 20 covers. And with the number of delivery people we witnessed flying in and out of the front doors on the night, this place struck us as more a takeaway than an eat-in restaurant.
The decor is minimalistic, leaning heavily towards the rustic, with its wooden and dark brick walls, black leathered seating, and large well-used wooden tables.
Great start to the review with these thick, luscious shakes.
The banana in the Banana & Peanut Butter was the first flavour to come through, followed by the peanut butter. Not as well balanced as it could have been, perhaps owing to the evident greenness of the banana, but a perfect consistency.
Kinder Bueno was more subtle in its delivery, but deliciously thick and satsifying.
What a cracking smoothie this was recommended by the owner!
While all the bits of the beautifully blended fruits provided texture, the subtlety of the sour lime worked well against the sweetness of the guava, with the pear and apple lingering in the background. Superb and recommended all the way!
Not as mindblowing as the above, but this fresh smoothie’s dominant flavour was undeniably the pineapple.
We weren’t expecting much with this. But, again, we succumbed to the recommendations of the persuasive owner.
What we received was a surprisingly good and inexpensive dish with a superb sauce that delivered one hell of a spicy-sour kick.
The liver, soft on the inside and wonderfully charred on the outside, had that familiar earthy taste that married well with the lemony sauce.
Fortunately, the discoloured lettuce didn’t detract from what was an original dish that you won’t find at many other gourmet burger restaurants.
What more could you ask for with chicken wings than succulent flesh encased in crispy, charred skin?
It’s all relative, we know, but for those used to their chilli, it might be a good idea to go for extra hot, since these hot wings were mildly so.
The BBQ took the form of sauce, lazily brushed on, as opposed to a proper marination. A pity, since these equally well cooked wings deserved better.
What a triumph this Chico’s Burger was. Not only did it taste good, but the patty, along with all their patties, was actually handcrafted and made-to-order just as a gourmet burger patty ought to be.
As a result, the meat was beautifully textured – slightly loose with just right amount of chew – and cooked perfectly medium, as requested.
In addition, the pickle sauce was positively delicious, reminding us of, believe it or not, McDonald’s, and provided that familiarly nostalgic sweet undertone.
Although the turkey bacon didn’t add much, the burger itself was, nonetheless, well layered, with a crispy, soft bun to boot.
But more impressively is the fact that Chico’s beef burgers can be upgraded to a whopping 12oz patty for just an extra £2.00!
This Picante Burger, however, split the crowd.
Although we were, again, all agreed on the greatness of the patty, our opinions couldn’t be more stark re taste.
As such, while one Lion appreciated both the gentle heat of the jalapenos, and the intensity of the generous quantity of cheese, he felt it was missing that extra something.
The other two, however, remained entirely unimpressed. Hence, while one found it a tad chilli, with undefined flavours, the other considered it to be insipid and uninspired.
This chicken Ricoto, however, restored peace and unanimity to the ranks, albeit in a not so positive light.
We all felt as though this huge chicken fillet deserved far more thought and consideration than it received.
In effect, what we had here was a peculiar mildly sour yoghurt-looking sauce and a little cheese, all of which provided a hint of sweetness, juxtaposed with some lettuce. Nothing more, nothing less!
Meanwhile, this Halloumi Burger again managed to split the crowd.
One Lion appreciated the thought process behind the burger in terms of the marriage between the chargrilled sweetness of the red pepper and the succulent halloumi covered in a thin layer of mayo sauce.
The other two thought it to be similar to the Ricoto re lettuce and the mayo-cum-yoghurt sauce, with the addition of some tomato.
It’s true that these were your standard curly fries; but, they were really well done.
Lightly spiced and, no doubt, cooked in extremely hot oil, these were addictively crunchy and crispy.
That same hot oil accounted for these very crunchy sweet potato fries, with their slightly dark edges, that provided a slightly acrid though not unpleasant taste.
- UBER EATS
And, as we personally witnessed, it managed to do this in a relatively cramped kitchen space and in fulfilment of a constant stream of takeaway orders. Yet, we have far more well established and higher end Halal eateries who opt for the easy and convenient route of batch-ordered premade patties, but still insist on declaring themselves as "Gourmet Burger" restaurants. In fact, we recently reviewed a restaurant, not nearly as busy on its respective evening, that cited kitchen space limitations as an excuse, despite theirs being as cramped as Chico's Burgers'.
Huge respect, therefore, to this Cricklewood "Gourmet Burger" place for remaining true to the rare preparatory method of made-to-order handcrafted patties in the Halal restaurant scene. In our considered experience, the difference vis-à-vis texture between this and its counterpart is chalk and cheese; the former not being as dense and compact as the latter, which makes all the difference in respect to succulence and taste.
Having said that though, and while Chico's Burgers' signature was an enjoyable one, the other three didn't quite cut the mustard and, thus, require some much needed thought and attention.
And don't forget, you have the option of upgrading your burger to contain a whopping 12oz patty for just an extra £2.00!
In all, Chico's Burgers, as a gourmet burger eatery, is an overdue welcome to Cricklewood Broadway.
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