We started by checking athinorama, then used foursquare and eventually just ended up walking the streets. We were hoping for something non-european (so unfortunately Bayern Bierhaus was out the question - damn!). Eventually we decided to try for a taste of Mexico and entered 'Vamos Amigos'. Their website reads "we are committed to serving our guests authentic Mexican dishes". It should have read "we are committed to serving out guests what they know as authentic Mexican dishes". I've sort of jumped the gun in saying this however so I'm going to rewind now and tell you how our visit panned out.
The first thing I noticed on entering the place was how large and empty it was. It probably was just the time and day, but I still wondered how often it fills up. We sat right in the back, next to the glass that separated the inner seating from the outside ones. I did wish it had been open so we could have gone outside because it did look nice. They had a water feature going outside, each table had a little cactus on it and generally care had been taken into giving the place a Mexican feel - maybe too much care (we did manage to extract from the waiter that the sombrero sealed baskets the tortillas were served in had been purchased from some food and hospitality exhibition in Germany).
Going through the menu I noticed it was more or less split into the the Mexican half: Nachos, Nachos, Nachos, Quesadillas, Chilli con Carne, Guacamole etc. for starters and Fajitas, Tacos, Burritos, Enchilada, Chimichanga etc. for mains, and the western half: BBQ chicken wings and a whole load of fried stuff for starters, and Grilled stuff, chicken with various sauces, burgers and pasta for mains. Sounds like a Fridays/Applebees/Ruby Tuesday menu you say... no no no, it must be your imagination. I immediately dismissed the western half, and we eventually decided to go for Chilli con Carne, Guacamole, Nachos and a basic mixed salad to start with, and then the Chimichanga and the Fajita with veal as our mains. To finish we said 'sod it' and went for the deep fried ice cream (for novelty value - though I have to admit I have had deep fried ice cream before).
What you see it what you get. The meat was tender, you wrapped it in one of four tortillas, added some condiments and ate it. I did think that for the amount of meat, they could have had a few more tortillas.
After the meal was over, my hunger subsided, and my brain functional, I started to think about the meal I'd had. The first question I ask myself, every single time I visit a new place, is will I be coming again. Quick question, gut feeling answer, and the answer was no! And I couldn't understand why. There was nothing wrong with the meal, it was sort of what I expected, and yet there was nothing special about it. Nothing to scream "wow!".
The same night I'm still thinking what went wrong. Maybe I just don't like Mexican food. But how can it be? Given me lime, coriander, cumin, tequila, peppers, sweetcorn, beans and chilli! I love so many of these flavours that I associate with Mexican food. And then it hit me. They were all absent. The Chilli con Carne and Fajitas meat was garnished with the greens from fresh onions (instead of possibly coriander), there was no lime zing in either Fajitas or the Guacamole, the salad was hardly dressed, the use of sweetcorn and beans was negligible, and there was no chilli - either that or it was as weak as Weak Mac. Weak! All the food tasted nice without tasting of anything!
I wasn't done though. I'd already read in Heston Blumenthal's Total Perfection that Chilli con Carne is far from authentic Mexican cuisine, so I decided to look around the internet for what is. I was as much shocked as appalled with myself for what I found: bottom line being that what I largely understood and associated with Mexican food is actually American influenced Mexican food, or Tex-Mex. I'll spare you the details, less to link a few pages that I found particularly interesting: this one which basically talks about how Tex-Mex evolved and this one which is basically all about the real deal Mexican food.
Going back now to Vamos Amigos, call it Mexican or call it Tex-Mex, for me, it is a poor and sloppy attempt at both. Attention has been put into the detail of how the place looks and how it presents itself, but the lack of that attention in to food show in dishes that are just OK: not notably better that anything you can get at the likes of Fridays, Applebees etc. But don't take my word for it, here's a map, see what you think.