Mention Mexican food, and most people think of rubbery, cheesy tortillas and over-seasoned chicken fajitas – so much potential, completely destroyed by Mexi-Brit chain restaurants. But then came along Wahaca, launched by culinary visionary and winner of Masterchef, Thomasina Miers, who realised the potential of an authentic version of the popular American cuisine. Affordable and immensely tasty, at time of writing, the Wahaca group has grown from its original Covent Garden location to new outposts in The Westfield Shopping Centre, Canary Wharf and most recently, Soho.
Wahaca has the luxury of being able to sustain a no-bookings policy, so the most telling display of Wahaca’s success isn’t its impressive expansion, but the long queues of hungry customers that have become a feature outside each branch. Fortunately (and cleverly!) the restaurants also feature tequila-laden bars, where customers can enjoy a few drinks in an upbeat atmosphere prior to their meal. Like the bar, the dining areas are also made up of bright colours and simple, wooden furniture whilst the atmosphere is street market lively.
The menu at Wahaca offers seasonal produce mostly from local suppliers, leading to a varied and seriously tempting menu. Diners have the option of going full-on tapas style or eating a starter and a main. I normally go for a couple of tapas style dishes and a larger main as there are so many tempting options available. Pork Tacos, Chorizo, Thyme and Potato Quesadillas, Tostadas – everything is not only delicious and tasty but also light; I would happily eat through most of the menu given half the chance and twice the stomach! Service is also extremely friendly and laid back despite the high customer turnover business model. Just as impressive is the value, with a solid meal for two easily achievable under £30.
Cuisine type: Mexican
Dinner for 2 (excluding drinks): £27
WC2 (Covent Garden), W1 (Soho), W12 (Westfield Shepherds Bush), E14 (Canary Wharf)