Wahaca: the rise of Mexican street food

I’m not normally a restaurant critic kind of gal, largely because I am a) too poor to spend my life eating out and b) for afore mentioned reasoning, I am usually rustling up something out of bits and bobs at home. As a special treat though, I spoiled my best friend to an all expenses paid dinner out in the big shiny capital that is London town.

The big decision being… where? Neither of us are fussy and like pretty much every cuisine going – so deciding a cuisine was a real challenge. I had received an email from (strongly recommend signing up), which offered a sensational price for a 3 course set menu with a champagne peach bellini cocktail for £20 a head in a posh restaurant in Covent Garden. Not breaking the bank, sounded scrummy… HOWEVER could only book a table for 8:45 pm.

Dinner date day arrived and I’m chilling, having a brew with the best mate. Nearing 7 o’clock and I’m already famished. It dawned on me I wouldn’t be eating dinner til 9 pm. This thought distressed me greatly. ‘Shall we sack off the reservation and just try out Wahaca? I’ve been wanting to go for ages?’ And the plan was made. Wahacas have been popping up left, right and centre all over London and I have been desperate to sample their Mexican offerings for months now.

Annoyingly, and one of my only downsides to Wahaca, is that you can’t book in advance. Luckily for us, a cheeky table for two and you’re easily enough slotted in somewhere with not too long a wait. For bigger parties I can imagine there would be a bit more of a problem and the potential wait could be extensive. One nice touch for the queue is you pick up a Wahaca ‘business card’, which in fact are a little box of chilli seeds, for you to grow your own chilli plant (I took 3).

This is just one downside to an otherwise enjoyable evening. The food and drinks were sensational. Tequila being my favourite tipple, I went for a passionfruit margarita: positively dreamy. Following this, I went for a Moscow Mule with tequila, which was so quaffable I’d finished it in 5 minutes flat. Super drinkable and serious deliciousness.

Hardest call of the evening? Get one dish all to myself or street food to share? I think, hands down, street food to share was the best option. The homemade tortilla chips was served with the best guacamole I have ever eaten in my entire life. Between the two of us, we shared a variety of street food. Prawn and scallop ceviche on soft mini tortillas was the right balance of zest and chilli. Black bean and cheese quesadillas were ordered for the traditional Mexican vibe. Sweet potato wedges? The scrummiest side dish I’ve had in a long time.

Wahaca’s best provision for me was the ability to try something brand new and authentically Mexican. This was delivered on our table in the form of two dishes of tacos: plantain and feta, which was simply heaven on a soft taco, and the tangy and zingy cactus and courgette taco. Both delicious, but for me plantain is something which I could eat all day every day now. A revelation to my tastebuds. Mmm.

Savoury is clearly nailed at Wahaca, but I’m a girl with a sweet tooth that means business. I ordered a classic: churros. The cinnamon sugar coating these churro rings (unusual, not sticky finger shaped) made me lick my fingers and the rich, dark chocolate dipping sauce was bitter enough to not be too sickly sweet.

After all this, I was that comfortably full level. I hadn’t gorged, yet felt 100% satisfied.

Overall rating: booze – fantastic, snacks – dippable and nibbly, main course – great for sharing, new and exciting and so delicious, pudding – orgasmic and the atmosphere? A gentle buzz of chatter and a general vibe of everyone having a good time.

All this for £30 a head? I will certainly be frequenting Wahaca again and again. And maybe again after that.

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