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Grub: High Chaparral, Greenwich

April 25, 2009

It’s not the most appealing exterior, is it? Greenwich’s other Mexican restaurant The High Chaparral does suffer from an image problem in that respect (its the narrow doorway next to the Desperados bar with a stairway leading up to the first floor) and yet word of mouth has been considerably more useful in securing it’s place in Greenwich’s list of eateries. We always go there and we’re rarely disappointed.

It’s not the kind of place you’ll see written about in magazines. In fact, I’d worry if I found it reviewed by the likes of Matthew Norman. He’d be bound to rip it to shreds. He can be so very scathing.

I’m reckoning the first floor restaurant has gone through a management change. If not then there’s been a sudden change of heart over the layout.

Gone are all but one of the cosy cocoons situated at the top of ladders for those of us late to the restaurant or in need of an intimate meal. Instead the restaurant has now been totally opened up, all of it’s tables on one level providing a far more flexible eating area. At first it felt as though the place had lost it’s charm, but the change may well have seemed considerably more stark because we were there in the light of early evening in late spring. The opening out of the restaurant area proved itself however when a large group of 16 turned up and were instantly accommodated after judicious rearrangement of the tables. Far from interrupting the atmosphere, the large group contributed to it.

The margheritas are overly sweet but the food reliable. The refried beans are probably best avoided – they were a disappointment – but the sizzling chicken satisfying. Staff are in no way authentic but reassuringly attentive nonetheless. 

They’re also keen to ensure your stay is a happy one: when I inadvertently knocked over my glass of wine with my elbow, they were quick and happy to replenish me with another. I didn’t ask and they didn’t know I was intending to blog about our visit either. 

Good reliable food and good service too. Mexican food is always expensive, but if you pass on the margherita (the only decent margheritas are the ones made by next door neighbour’s ex-boyfriend, believe me) then the total cost is comparable to any tired pizzeria.

Word to the wise, however. Don’t go there if you’re intending to order pasta. If you do, you may run the risk of being scorned at by a couple of cynical old queens sat in the corner, in the same way me and the significant other passed judgement on one lady’s order during our visit.

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