Chimichanga, Dunlop Street: Affordable Mexican Food at a Hipster Joint

chimichanga-singapore-reviewChimichanga at Dunlop Street, Little India, takes its name after a deep-fried burrito. Given that the joint is opened by a creative agency that has done campaigns for bars and clubs, you would already know or assume two things: One, the alcohol here is well-stocked, and two, the decor is amazing. You are right on both counts.

chimichanga-little-indiaChimichanga consists of a long and narrow strip, with brick floors, peeling walls, and naked bulbs. Super hipster. (I mock it but I love it.)

The menu is simple, with items repeating themselves. For instance, you can get burito, or taco, or chimichanga, or quesadillas, with choice of meat, carnita porkchipotle chickenancho beef, or boracho fish. There are also some sides like nachos and wings. All dishes are priced at a maximum of only $10, and with no GST and no service charge.

chimichanga-dunlop-streetThe food is generally ok. The jalapeno pops ($10) are deep-fried breaded jalapenos stuffed with cheese. Mr Fitness, who generally has a high tolerance of spice than I, found it spicy, but I didn’t. Strange. In any case, it isn’t too bad, but cheese needs some improvement. It tastes like Laughing Cow cheese and it doesn’t melt although the dish arrived hot.

chimichanga-singapore-menuThe burrito ($10) is super worth it. The only place that sells a cheaper burrito is the halal food kiosk, Stuff’d, found at basements of shopping malls, and that is a kiosk, this is a restaurant. The burrito comes as a gigantic wrap of meat, salsa, vegetables, and rice. (We chose pork for our meat, but there are chicken, beef and fish to choose from.) You may also order this as a bowl, without it being wrapped.

Tastewise, it’s not bad, but there may be too much cilantro, and some complexity is required. Maybe throw in some beans, guacamole, sour cream?

chimichanga-restaurant-singaporeFor the taco trio ($10), you can choose different meat for each of them. They are soft tacos (not deep-fried), which I prefer, but the taco skin here is tough. Although the tortilla is problematic, the fillings are spot-on delicious. The chicken is tender and refreshing, the best of the three we tried. The fish comes hot, which is how we like it, and is not oily. The beef is a tad dry, but the green sauce (salsa verde?) saves it.

Regarding the food, although it is not bad, there are three areas of improvement. Firstly, beans and guacamole are essential to Mexican food, but I can’t find them on the menu. How can a Mexican restaurant not have guacamole?! Secondly, the spices aren’t strong enough. Mexicans love spicy food, but the chipotle and ancho chilli here have no kick. Lastly, everything comes with the side nachos; there should be a choice between nacho and something else.

Next, the service. It’s fantastic. The lady was polite and friendly, she knows what to do, and she is super cool. But I ordered the La Chimichanga ($16) cocktail, which is basically a bloody mary with a mini chimichanga in it. I thought a fried popiah in a cocktail would be a great photo op. When the drink arrived, it didn’t have a mini chimichanga. I wished that I was told this before I got the drink, because without the mini popiah, it’s just a bloody mary and I’d have ordered other more interesting drinks on their list.

On the whole, this is a lovely experience. Very affordable, ok food–we paid $44 for two persons–with excellent service at a nice place.  It’s worth checking it out. And when it adds guacamole to the menu, we will definitely be regulars.

Chimichanga Singapore
36 Dunlop Street, Singapore 209364
T: +65 6293 3314
M-T 11am-11pm, W-Sat 11am-midnight, closed Sun

Food: 6.5/10
Price/value: 9/10
Decor/Ambience: 9/10
Service: 7/10
Overall rating: 3.938/5

Written by A. Nathanael Ho.

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