Posted on Friday, 28th March 2014
Wahaca, the Mexican street eat restaurant chain started by the 2005 Masterchef winner Thomasina Miers, is one of my favourite cheap eats in London. Wahaca do some key things really well. Their vibe is relaxed and chilled, the ingredients they use are always fresh, and the dishes are refreshingly appetising. You can also expect a general level of consistency in the food no matter which branch you visit as most of the prep is done in the centralised Wahaca kitchen on Charlotte Street before being distributed to the various Wahaca branches. And best of all the food is really reasonably priced. And did I mention the yummy cocktails?
We visited the Wahaca at the very smart Westfield White City, perfectly located for a bite to eat after a spot of shopping. We kicked of with some drinks, heading straight for the interesting Tequila Experience (£10.65) which consisted of three separate tequila shots. First up was the cold sharpness of the Calle 23 Blanco which served as an aperitif washed down with sangrita. Next was the Reposado, a tequila with a light and woody flourish that we slowly savoured during the meal. To finish, we had the Añejo Calle 23, an aged tequila which was smooth and mellow with a nice finish. We also really adored the refreshing and not too sweet passionfruit margarita (£6.25).
While pouring over the menu we nibbled on some guacamole, enjoying the soft, sweet ripeness of the avocado in this classic Mexican dip. It was really lovely and well judged for acidity although a touch more seasoning was needed. The accompanying tortilla chips were also excellent and super crunchy.
We rather enjoyed the battered MSC certified cod tacos (£8.95). The fish was wonderfully moist and juicy and the batter was crispy and really well done. The sides of rice and beans were also decent.
The crispy fried chunks of sweet potato chips (£3.20) were good as they were soft and sweet, with the smoky caramelised mojo de ajo working really well with the chips. Also tasty was the pork in the pork pibil tacos (£4.10). It was was tender as one would expect from 12 hours of slow cooking. The Yucatecan marinade was thick and rich, giving the dish an almost BBQ like quality. The soft tacos were thin and nicely done.
Another interesting dish was the Pozole (£5.25), a pork and chicken broth special of the day with pozole corn, shredded pork, and a touch of chilli. The soup was rich with flavour from the use of both chicken and pork in the broth and the chilli gave the soup a nice kick. Furthermore, a topping of crispy finely shredded slaw gave it an lovely tang.
However less successful was the British steak cooked ‘the Mexican way’ (£9.95). We also found the meat to be a little bland and surprising a little chewy for what was a cut of sirloin.
To desserts, and these were be solid and steady but not as remarkable as the savoury courses. The churros (£3.95) were crunchy, but they were solid through its core and didn’t have the slightly soft centre that would have made these more delectable. The churros came with a chocolate or a caramel sauce, and we elected to have both which we thoroughly enjoyed. The Mexican chocolate tart (£4.95) with a chocolate ganache was rich with a beautifully creamy texture and the biscuit base was good, but the chocolate lacked a depth of flavour. Also a touch more chilli would have given the tart more kick.
I do like a spot of Wahaca. It might be a high street chain, but it offers a refreshing take on Mexican food that’s accessible and affordable for all. The food is dependable and reasonably priced and the service is friendly and cheerful. On a price to value ratio, Wahaca is a good deal.
Food rating: 3.5/5
Prices: About £20 for three courses, excludes drinks and service.