Friday, 11 March 2016

A Mexican feast at Wahaca

Despite it being a nationwide chain, before last Tuesday a visit to Wahaca had somehow escaped me. So I felt pleased that I more than made up for my Wahaca negligence with an epic feast on my first visit.

Oh my days, we ate so much food. Like, I genuinely can't remember when I last ate so much. But it was so worth it.

To celebrate the Year of the Taco (apparently that's a Thing so woo!), I was invited to sample some of the Mexican restaurant's finest tacos. And, well, a load of their other foods too. Because yums.

After a long day in the office, I met my old friend Lucy at the Brixton branch of Wahaca, which was surprisingly busy for a random Tuesday evening.

I should say now that I had a bit of a mare photo-wise: upon arriving at Wahaca and whipping out my camera, I realised the battery was dead. Excellent, thought I. It had transpired that I'd accidentally left it on after checking the battery the night before. What. An. Idiot.

So as a result all my photos are taken on iPhone, and I have a really old iPhone, so I do apologise for the quality.

Tbh though the lighting was pretty dim in the restaurant so my snaps were never going to be insanely good.

Dim lighting aside, I really liked the interior of Wahaca. It was exotic and fun, with lots of twinkly lights hanging from the ceiling and a definite holiday vibe.
I was surprised by how big the restaurant was - a lot bigger than you'd think from the outside - and yet we were seated at a table that was extremely close to another. I'm sure I very nearly knocked over some nachos on the table next to us with my derrière when squeezing out to go to the loo.

The menus took the form of paper placemats which although one might say aren't the classiest of affairs, at a place like Wahaca it totally works. You're there for an informal, relaxed, fun evening, so not everything needs to be super snazzy in my opinion.

What the menu is, however, is big. It was jolly hard to choose what to order. I loved that Wahaca have a whole section dedicated to sharing plates, with the idea that you choose two to three per person. Naturally, Lucy and I decided to go down this route and polished off a solid seven dishes between us. Plus puddings. Oh yeah.

To start things off, however, we opted for a cocktail each. In an attempt to get myself into the holiday spirit, I went for the Wahaca Colada, which as far as I could tell wasn't massively different from a classic piña. It was v tasty though. Lucy had the bramble.
And we didn't have time to make much of a dent in our drinks before our food started appearing - it didn't arrive all at once, but given how much we had to eat, that wasn't a problem at all.

So, here's what we chose...

Sweet potato and feta taquitos:
Corn tortillas rolled and fried into crispy cigars, filled with roasted sweet potato, feta and caramelised red onion and topped with feta, salad, salsas and chipotle mayo. These were in-SANE-ly good! Possibly my favourite of everything. The filling was velvety smooth which was perfect with the crunchy taquito.

Prawn tacos, which are a new special on the menu:
Two corn tortillas stuffed with chopped prawns spiked with chillies, spring onions and coriander, deep-fried until crispy and topped with a fresh tomato salsa and chipotle. Not too prawny and very good.

Smoky chipotle chicken quesadilla: 
A toasted tortilla oozing with melting mozzarella, shredded chicken and tomato sauce. Granted, not a looker, but this super simple dish was without a doubt one of my favourites. It had just the right amount of filling to tortilla ratio too. Divine.

Chicken tinga tacos:
Soft corn tortillas filled with chicken poached in a sweet onion, smoky chipotle and tomato sauce. Absolutely scrumptious. The chicken was tender and I loved the soft tortillas that were just the right thickness. A tad spicy for me but that's because I suck at spice. Like, it's genuinely embarrassing.

Plantain tacos:
Crispy plantain topped with sweet, spicy chipotle and a crumble of feta. Oh and coriander. Bloody coriander. How do I hate thee, let me count the ways. What gets me the most is that restaurants (not just Wahaca, like, everywhere) never state when something has coriander in. And you know how it's been scientifically proven that some of us have that gene that means coriander tastes like soap? Yeah, I have it.

But anyway this blog post was not meant to be a rant about coriander. It just ruins so many otherwise perfectly delicious foods and MAKES ME SO ANGRY!

I should calm down.

Whilst I hate coriander, I ADORE plantain! Like massively. So after picking off the devil's herb these tacos were deeeelish, and I was so happy Lucy let me have all three. Thanks, pal.

Corn and bean salad:
Mixed leaves with avocado, corn and bean salsa and a sprinkle of toasted pumpkin seeds. I mean, it's just a salad but it was a good salad. Don't you hate it when a side salad is lettuce and tomatoes? I sure do. Especially as I hate raw tomato. (Not as much as coriander though, don't worry you haven't got another rant coming atcha.)

Smoky cauliflower cheese:
Roasted cauliflower covered with cheese and grilled. Boy, do I love cauliflower cheese. This wasn't like your classic cauli cheese as the cauliflower wasn't really in a cheese sauce as such, it was just the grilled cheese on top. Utterly delicious in its own right though. How can anything be bad if it's covered in cheese and grilled, amiright?

And so yeah. We ate everything.
No shame.

Buuuut we were totally still going to have pudding. And I decided a palate cleanser by way of a refreshing drink would be a good move.
Lucy had the hibiscus flower water (pretty much cranberry cordial but tasty enough) and I went for a Horchata. Nope, I'd never heard of it either. It's essentially almond and rice milk with cinnamon. And I loved it. Apparently it's a very Mexican thing so there you go.

For pudding there was only one way we were going to go: churros.
Con chocolate, natch, although you have the option of caramel. (Should it be 'con' or 'y'? I've never learnt Spanish so apols if I have made an error by trying to be multilingual.)
Ahhhhh these were so good! Deep-fried, warm, sugary, doughnutty goodness and rich, thick chocolate sauce - essentially what dreams are made of. Not a light way to finish our meal but an insanely delicious one. And I figured it was a good move to get me in the mood for my trip to Madrid in, um... three months. Ahem.


But I'd loved it.

The staff were friendly, the service was quick, the vibe was relaxed, the food was yummy and it was a really fun evening. I'm pretty sure Mexican is a growing food trend in the UK and I totally see why. I really like trying different foods that you don't find everywhere you go.

And yes, I undid my (poor choice of a high-waisted) skirt as soon as I got home and it felt SO GOOD. Ladies, you know what I'm talking about.

Lucy and I were guests at Wahaca.

Have you ever been to Wahaca? What do you think of Mexican food?


  1. I've never actually been to a Wahaca which is stupid because I love Mexican food (and Chiquitos just doesn't cut it anymore!) Sadly there isn't one in the tiny non-city that is Exeter.. I'm about to go drool over menus and the dream of smoky cauliflower cheese. That's so sad that you seem to have the anti-coriander gene! I can't get enough of it! xxx
    Lucy @ La Lingua | Food, Travel, Italy

  2. Next time you go, Rachel, try the salted caramel ice-cream; it's my absolute favourite! So delicious!


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