Matt and Cat love living on the Isle of Wight. It’s a great place to be, particularly in the summer with its temperate climate, lively visitors and beautiful countryside. However, off season, it can be a bit, well – closed. At least that’s the experience Matt and Cat had whilst trying to find somewhere to eat on a Monday night in winter. Closed was the Culver Haven, the lights weren’t on at Fultons and Ganders was definitely not open for business. Gradually, the intrepid travellers made their weary way back to Ryde to discover that even Wetherspoons was closed for refurbishment. Trickling their way down Union Street, the neon-lit Dos Amigos finally offered them room at the inn.
Delighted to find somewhere open in Ryde that they haven’t reviewed, M and C burst through the doors of this, the Island’s sole TexMex restaurant, straight into the very smoky bar. Apart from two old stagers puffing away on barstools the place was nearly empty, except for a vast selection of cowboy and Mexican artifacts. Matt and Cat were welcomed by the friendly waiter and chose a seat at the back of the restaurant, as far away from the smokers as could be managed, as there was not a no-smoking area. The waiter, noting their discomfort, kindly put on the air conditioning.
Once settled at their table, the waitress delivered a complementary plate of carrot sticks, tortilla chips and a flavoursome dip for Matt and Cat to nibble whilst perusing the menu. There was plenty of TexMexery to choose from, including fajitas, enchiladas, chilli beef and Cajun chicken as well as the less adventurous burger and chips.
Their orders placed, Matt and Cat sat back on their raffia-seated chairs and examined the guns, cowboy memorabilia and a photograph of a dead outlaw taken in 1862. The bass-heavy speakers blasted out some foot-tapping Mexican music which Cat particularly liked. She was getting worried that she might be turning into an intolerant old biddy, with her views on smoking, raw onion and piped music in restaurants. However, at Dos Amigos she realised that it is not piped music per se that she dislikes, but Phil Collins. The Mexican music was great!
And soon the food was delivered. Cat’s Cajun chicken arrived noisily, sizzling on a hot platter, with chips and salad on a separate plate. Matthew’s chilli beef enchiladas were topped with a salsa sauce on a bed of basmati rice, with a side salad. Both meals looked very good.
The chicken was very tender and its sauce was delicious, although it looked unexpectedly like chicken korma and tasted more Asian than American. The chips were lovely and piping hot, and the salad had a good mixture of leaves – and no raw onion!
Matt’s tasty beef enchiladas were generously stuffed with good quality mince and plenty of cheese. Cat had a taste and liked them very much. Matt and Cat cleared their plates, which drew congratulations from the waiter.
The sting in the tail of Dos Amigos is the prices. It is not a cheap place to eat; Matt’s enchiladas cost the best part of £10, although the Cajun chicken was cheaper. However, if you don’t mind the smoke it’s an interesting-looking venue and is obviously pretty successful as it has occupied its position in Union Street for several years. Certainly somewhere for Matt and Cat to revisit after 1 July.