Monday, 13 August 2012
Wahaca, Soho, London, UK
I remember watching Thomasina Miers winning Masterchef many years ago, before the programme developed its comedy edge. She was super-keen on promoting Mexican food, and has done a sterling job since then by opening the Wahaca group of restaurants across London. My knowledge of Mexican food remains limited, but Wahaca has been on my list of central London places to visit for absolutely ages. I am obviously on a roll, as after my recent Dishoom success I followed up by making it to Wahaca a couple of weeks ago.
The Soho branch was absolutely packed when we visited on a weekday evening, but we only had a short wait before we were shown to a table. The Male Companion Person and I shared a main course and range of side dishes, so managed to taste a good range of the fish and vegetarian bits of the menu.
Fish tacos were essentially slightly exotic fishfinger sandwiches, which is no bad thing. If our substantial food order hadn't obscured the bottles, I probably would have added some hot sauce to spice these up a little though. The seasonal squid special, which though flavourful and non-chewy, could have done with something lighter than the thick breadcrumb coating they came in.
We also ordered a big green salad, fried sweet potatoes, and some frijoles. So basically quite a lot of food for two people. I particularly loved the warm frijoles topped with cheese, which was rich and exceptionally moreish (not something you can often say about mashed beans).
I got a bit over-excited at the thought of churros, so we had some of those too. This was the other thing I really loved- fried donuts with a dark chocolate sauce. If they had provided a spoon I would have scooped that sauce more directly into my face too.
So I really liked Wahaca. For me the stand-out dishes were the frijoles and the churros, but everything else tasted fresh and was more than pleasant. The restaurant had a nice buzzy atmosphere, and a special mention has to go to our server-person Maciej (I think); he was obviously looking after several large groups as well as us but was still friendly, efficient and helpful, and did not laugh at me when I completely messed up using the card terminal. Wahaca also seems very reasonably priced for central London, as all the above food, a couple of beers, and a non-alcoholic drink was about £35 (without service). I would happily visit Wahaca again, and well done to Tommi Miers for getting her mini-food empire off the ground too.
80 Wardour Street
London W1F OTF