Tijuana Yacht Club (formerly Gringo Bills) – Edinburgh

This was a bit of a disappointment for me, and I’m not sure if it is entirely the fault of the restaurant. I used to go here a lot with friends, lunchtimes and evenings, and we have had some great laughs there and some excellent food. We even had a lock in one New Year. Yet returning just didn’t feel the same, it didn’t have the same atmosphere for me.

One of the most noticeable changes was the menu and how it hasn’t changed that much. Now before you think that’s a bad thing, it’s actually a great thing. The menu is superb with a mixture of Mexican and TYC specialities that are, invariably, very hot!

The drinks, especially the beers and Margaritas are still the same and the decor remains unchanged. These too are good points as the drinks were always good, Mexican beers and jugs of margaritas were just what you needed on a Friday lunchtime during work! The atmosphere is made by the fun chalkboards around the room pronouncing how the size of the pudding would make even the famous Monica choke! The staff weren’t the same, but had just attended the same school of charm and casual joking as before, they just help you feel relaxed and right at home.

Nachos Del Queso – £5.00

El Gringo enchiladas – £9.90

Albondigas (Meatballs) in chipotle tomato sauce – £9.90

So what was wrong? Well the first thing was the £5 starter which amounted to little more than a plate of tortilla chips laid out and sprinkled with cheese and spring onion, I really am not exaggerating when I tell you that it was the amount found in a normal bag of crisps, one of those with an extra large helping of air, and for £5?! We were visibly stunned when the plate was put down, and when the waitress had the cheek to tell a table of twelve behind us that three plates might be too much we almost choked.

The menu prices have gone up, without a doubt. I remember that one of the attractions was that it was cheaper than most and the portions were huge. At least I had the main course to look forward to.

Well the main was larger than the starter obviously, but not in contention for the size of Gringo Bill’s portions. It seems the name change has brought around a much more cuisine approach to the food with the presentation factor rising high. The enchiladas that sat across from me were perfectly proportioned and presented, with sour cream and sauce drizzled in diagonal lines across them.

Stop! It’s Mexican food! We want lots and you have to be able to make a mess when you’re eating it, it’s not about micro portions laid out in fancy patterns, I’m eating the food, not framing it! No, it wasn’t that bad, but it was very noticeable. Still I wasn’t as impressed as I used to be, turn back the clock to the Gringo Bills days and I’d be slapping this to a five star review.

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