Marvellous mexican, aye carumba!
“Looking to the markets of Mexico for inspiration, Wahaca was born from our love for fresh, honest, Mexican market food. There are as many ways of eating as there are flavours. Have a light snack or antojitos (little treats) with drinks; share small dishes with friends or have a hearty meal all to yourself.”
I appear to be flying the restaurant chain flag, much to my surprise. When I lived in Brighton I rarely ate at chains, the city has such a great food scene and a large variety of independent restaurants it was easy to miss them. In London it’s densely populated with restaurants and maybe due to high rentals it lends well to chains paving the way and monopolising the real estate so since moving up here last year I’ve started eating at many and have been pleasantly surprised (don’t judge me!)
Wahaca is my most recent foray and what a treat. The Charlotte Street restaurant really stands out with their trademark bright aquamarine decor. Upstairs there’s a great bar which is usually less packed than the local pubs so worth checking out for an after work drink.
We arrived on a Tuesday night around 9 after celebrating Luis’s 18th with drinks at the Marquis of Granby. We were a party of 11 and ravenous, we walked straight in, no booking and whilst the place seemed busy the waitress sorted us a table in a matter of minutes, result!
The menu is a large placemat with a wealth of Mexican options; tacos, tostados, taquitos, quesadillas.. take your pick. These Street Food inspired plates are designed to be small bites like Mexican tapas. There’s also a main section with the larger dishes, Platos Fuertes. Depending on how hungry you are a main and side will suffice or two to three street food plates on their own. Between Gary and I we shared three street food dishes; Chipotle Chicken Quesadilla (£4.15), Salmon Tostada (£3.95) one of the specials, and Grilled British Steak Tacos (£4.50), along with a Slow-cooked Pork Burrito with Baja cheese (£6.95) and some Spicy Slaw (£2.30) washed down with Pacifico Clara beer (£3.80).
Luis is Vegan so at work we try to go to places that accommodate this and Wahaca performs well when put to the test. To start with they actually know the meaning of the term vegan and in the past the waitress has been able to highlight all the dishes that are Vegan as well as make other dishes vegan too. On this occasion Luis chose the Black Bean Sonora Salad (£7.25) which I don’t think he would order again but I know he has rated previous dishes here and is a big fan of the Churros y chocolate (£3.95).
I found all the dishes to be delicious, the sides are small but for example the taco’s had decent sized chunky steak pieces. The burrito was a perfect combination with pretty refined flavours, they just fused together really well, definately opt for the Baja cheese with this. The salsa was also a hit, thankfully nothing like the tomato sauce The Castle serve!
The price point is what makes Wahaca stand out it allows groups of friends to come together and everyone can eat on a small budget which is no mean feat in London. I have been to El Burrito and Benito’s Hat both nearby on several occasions and whilst El Burrito is authentic and has very generous portions at great prices, the overall quality and flavour isn’t as good as Wahaca. Lastly I have to give special credit and thanks to Steve who on this occasion very generously and rather sneakily footed the bill. I know free food always tastes better but I promise you this hasn’t altered my review.