Wahaca Southbank experiment - review

Friday, 4 October 2013
It's my birthday!  A good time to post a happy restaurant review from a month ago...  My weekend is already well set - yesterday night at Jamie's Italian with Mum friends, tonight out with Mr K who knows where, tomorrow off to see the lovely Mark Morriss with a rather lovely colleague and Sunday lunch with my Dad as it is equidistant between our birthdays.  Consider me a very happy girl.

Anyway, on with the review.  What could make my good friend Sarah write this?
(Yes, ignore the broken phone and the fact that it's impossible to take a good photo of my phone...and that it gives away when we visited...)

I'm always hearing about Wahaca and when we wandered past it on a rather beautiful day in the end of summer, we decided it was time to give it a go and see if it lived up to the hype.  I asked Sarah what she recommended - the sweet potato - but it was a little late for me to actually order it.

The counter - where the food was prepared in double-quick time.

D loved his menu so much and was desperate to do some colouring but his food arrived so swiftly, he didn't get a chance!  

The first thing that struck me was the brilliant range for children - just enough of the old favourites to keep kids happy but a few things to push the tastebuds a bit further.  The price is good too - £5 for a main, a side and a drink.  I was pleased to see that the dessert wasn't a part of the deal - that always feels like a bit of a mean trick to get the parents signed up for dessert too.  D opted for the fishfinger wrap, rice and beans and apple fizz.

The apple fizz was very popular but it was a little harder to coax D to the food.  Eventually, he was convinced that the rice was 'alien' rice, the beans were 'pirate' beans and the fish fingers 'Octonaut' fishfingers.  He finished most of the rice and beans after that.

Mr K and I opted for two small dishes each and a shared salad.  We also had a starter of guacamole with tortilla chips.  We may also have had a mojito each!

The second thing that struck me was the speed with which food arrives.  You aren't left with empty places in front of you for very long.  Our guacamole was with us within seconds, filled with tasty chunks of onion and tomato.  Shortly after the salad (the bean and corn salad) arrived and this was probably the favourite part of our meal.  It was fresh and crunchy, with just a little hint of feta to add a slightly sour tang.

Next to arrive was my bean and cheese quesadilla.  This really hit the spot - particularly with a healthy dose of one of the provided sauces.  I really liked the smoky chipotle.

Mr Kneadwhine, I'm afraid, went carnivore but I'll briefly mention his choices.  He opted for the Chicken Tinga tacos and the chicken taquitos.  Both dishes seemed a little small but both were eaten quite quickly.  There was a bit of salad with them which helped to beef up the dish.  To be fair to Wahaca, they do recommend 2-3 dishes per person and we were probably a little conservative on our order after over-ordering recently at another restaurant (more news on this on another date!).  The taquitos were quite crunchy he tells me.

Finally, my experimental dish arrived - cactus and courgette tacos.  I was really very curious about these, having never tried cactus before.  It's very salty.  The sauce and the grilled cheese were enjoyable but the overriding taste for me was salt/brine.  I managed one of the three tacos and Mr K attempted a second but we just could not bring ourselves to eat the final one.

Apart from this failed experiment, however, the meal was a success.  Including our mojito each, the bill was £41.50.  Not bad for London for three with a little bit of alcohol.

I also loved this little matchbook style gift at the end - a way to grow your own chillis as it actually contained seeds.

Wahaca has a few different locations across London and one at Bluewater.  Service is good, food is tasty and arrives quickly - we'll definitely be returning!

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