I initially didn’t plan to write a review of Wahaca (hence the terrible picture quality). We went there kind of by default on a Sunday evening when there simply wasn’t enough food in the fridge to cook dinner, and everything else in the neighbourhood seemed to have already closed.
But then, just like the first time I visited, the utter brilliance of it all hit be. I tend not to be the biggest fan of so-called “chain restaurants” (which I most often than not find a bit “meh”) but Wahaca is most definitely an exception to that rule. So I obviously HAD TO write about it. Also I fell in love with Frijoles, and that was in itself enough of a reason for a review!
I usually blame chains for lacking in originality and/or authenticity and lower-than-standard food quality. Wahaca however definitely can’t be fault on either of these points. Also, they do cracking little cocktails!
There were many treats on the cocktail list (Margaritaaaaaas! 🍸) but my eyes were drawn to the Rhubarb Mezcalita special… And God, was I glad I went with it! It was perfectly balanced, which I always find somewhat tricky with rhubarb. Also tried the Hibiscus Mojito, which was refreshing but would have benefited from more hibiscus flavours to make it truly interesting. If I manage to get my hands on some hibiscus flowers, I might actually give it a go as it truly is an interesting flavour combination! With obligatory Guacamole (read “I’ll never EVER pass on an opportunity to get guacamole”), we had all we needed to survive the dreaded test of menu-picking.Which I must admit I didn’t get very involved in because 1. I wanted everything 2. I was much too busy scooping guacamole on tortilla chips.
Also, I must confess this was actually one of the best guacamoles I’ve eaten in restaurants sofar. I pretty much gobbled up the entire thing all to myself (#sorrynotsorry), so I don’t know how credible I still am saying this, but maybe a touch more lemon/lime juice would make it absolutely perfect to my eyes. Apparently I was right not to get involved in the whole menu-picking thing, as I was soon faced with quite literally ALL THE TACOS! 🙌We started off our little improvised feast with the Chicken Pipian, which paired really well with Wahaca’s own hot sauce. I had sort of mixed feelings about this one: on one hand, I absolutely loved the nuttiness brought by the pumpkin seeds as well as the crunchy red cabbage topping but found the chicken a bit dry…Following up with the Pork Pibil, which was already pretty great by itself, but reached new highs when paired with the fruity hot sauce! But the dish to rule them all was the MSC Fish Tacos. Deliciously crispy panko-crumbed cod with the freshest slaw I’ve ever eaten, balanced out with creamy-hot chipotle mayo and tangy pickled cucumbers; there simply was no faulting them on anything. I can only urge you to get your hands on some!My one true love though? See that brown-ish paste on the right handside of the picture. Yes really. It doesn’t look like much, but it’s dream-material. Or Frijoles, as people who aren’t quite as obsessed with the magnificent butteriness of this rich blackbean stew call it.Rounding it all up with a slice of the Chocolate Tres Leche Cake. Unfortunately, I don’t think I will order this again as it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. From the description I was hoping for a slightly sticky, intensely caramel-flavoured cake but it rather had a sponge-y texture I found a bit dry… Now that I think of it, I come to wonder if the cake is made with chocolate or cocoa…
What: Fresh Mexican small plates (best excuse ever to taste everything!) that might very well surprise you!
How much: About £40 for 2 people (with drinks)
Tip: If you have the chance to put your hands on the Rhubarb Mezcalita, go for it, it’s GREAT! I’d also advice you to get a double portion of Frijoles (one per person might seem a bit excessive, but I’d rather skip dessert than share those!). Actually, that’s probably what I’ll do next time!
Where: Wahaca, 68-69 Upper Street, London N1 0NY