Wahaca

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Oaxaca is obviously too difficult for Londoners to pronounce. That’s why Thomasina Miers called her Mexican restaurant Wahaca which is the phonetic pronunciation of Oaxaca, Mexico’s culinary capital. It’s a clever little nod to those in the know about Mexican cuisine. Everything about the place is rather clever, the decor of hot bright colours and a boho chic collection of tomato tins and crates, the emphasis on “so hot right now” street food, even the communal tables capture the zeitgeist.
 

There is a no bookings policy so it is best to get to Wahaca early although they do let you put your name down, take a beeper and head to a pub around the corner to wait your turn (a much better option than the overcrowded bar area). The menu offers much more varied options than the mainly refried beans, chicken and rice that I dined on in Mexico, in fact there is hardly a refried bean in sight which makes me think this is an Anglo version of Mexican food, or perhaps a rich mans version of Mexican food. I’m not complaining though I was sick to death of refried beans by the time I left Mexico.
 
Put off by the queues and perhaps the hype, I had never actually been to Wahaca until the other week when I had dinner with MTV boyfriend and our friends Anna and Nick. We were all starving and Mexican street food is the sort of food that is best if it is served quickly, luckily for us our food arrives in a flash. We barely have time to sip on our cheladas of beer served in a glass rimmed with lime and salt before we were tucking in. Of the tacos, pork pibil tacos (£3.85) were earthy and moist while vegetable tacos (£3.25) were a little gluey. Huitlacoche quesadillas (£3.95) sounded more exotic than what they were, toasted flour tortillas stuffed with corn and mushrooms, a better bet were the potato and chorizo quesadillas (£3.95) but then everything is better with chorizo right? Guacamole served with tortilla chips (£3.25) was tasteless and gloopy, lacking the familiar kick of lime which usually lifts this dish from being simply mashed avocado.
 

 
Wahaca is Mexican for the masses. I’ve had much better Mexican at Crazy Homie’s and Taqueria. That said, it’s a fun place to eat, service is speedy and the churros are sensational. Served so hot that they burn your fingers these long doughnut like pieces of hot sugary dough match perfectly with the creamy chocolate sauce. They might even be better than the churros I had in Mexico. Who knows about Oaxaca though, never been as it was too hard to say.
Essentials
Details: 66 Chandos Place, Covent Garden WC2N4HG (Ph 020 7240 1883) Tube: Covent Garden
Damage: Such a bargain my mother would approve
5/10
Links
If you liked reading this you might be interested in reading my reviews of another London Mexican restaurant, Taqueria, or about the cooking course I did in Mexico.

10 comments

  1. Like you, I thought Wahaca was fun, but am yet to try really tasty Mexican food with a bit of oomph in London. Everyone tells me I need to try the Daddy Donkey burritos.

  2. You’re totally spot on with this review – Wahaca is great for Mexican in London, but it’s nothing like the real thing – and the guac was totally dismal. Still dreaming of the guac I had in New York a year ago – it was prepared from scratch at our table! xx

  3. Couldn’t agree more. It’s a great space and a fun place to be. I quite like the salads for something filling but healthy – but, as you’ve said, not truly amazing Mexican.

    I guess both the name and the food are Mexican for Londoners!

  4. That’s a shame. I was also put off by the long queues so didn’t get to Wahaca until my very last day in London – and I LOVED it! Although never been to Crazy Homies or Taqueria or Mexico…

    Jetsetting Joyce

  5. Another person who agrees here! Though I did like the mole at Wahaca. But lately I’ve been going to Taqueria for my Mexican fix. Gotta try Crazy Homies!

  6. Interesting but mixed write-up… I had a very good meal at Wahaca in October which I reviewed but then I am hardly an expert. Very impressed with your cookery classes in Mexico, wow! Have read your Taqueria post too, I should try this place in Notting Hill. Thanks.

  7. I went to Wahaca a while ago (queued for over an hour as well!), and thought the food was good, but not outstanding. I’ll definitely have to check out Taqueria.

  8. I went to Wahaca the other week at Canary Wharf and had a terrible meal. Like you have pointed out, the food is somewhat tasteless and nothing like the real thing!

    When I blogged my review I actually got a reply from them – They sounded very sincere in their apologies and although I didn’t enjoy my experience and wouldn’tgo back, that dented the blow somewhat.

    Crazy Homies is somewhere I want to try soon, glad you recommend it! Will also check out Taqueria…

  9. Thanks for the info. Will try out Wahaca soon. I’m very keen on genuine Mexican street food; a taste for which I picked up in Southern California. We recently went to Boho Mexica in Spitafields- not really that impressed. Not a patch on the excellent Green and Red off Brick Lane- I’m sure you know it well!

  10. Greedy Diva – I haven’t been to Daddy Donkey either – maybe that is the key.

    Wee Birdy – Wow that guac sounds amazing. Far superior than Wahaca’s.

    Lex Eat – I didn’t try the salads but will have to check them out.

    Jet Setting Joyce – perhaps you had a better experience than me. What did you order?

    Su-Lin – I think Crazy Homies has a better atmosphere than Taqueria but it is also more expensive so for cheap and cheerful Mexian Taqueria is probably the place to go.

    The London Foodie – Don’t worry I wouldn’t call myself an expert either – American in London and Londonelicious are both quite strong on Mexican food.

    Su-yin – wow an hour queue – no good!

    Pedders – that is good that they replied – I haven’t heard anything…

    The Greasy Spoon – everyone says California has some of the best Mexican street food even to rival Mexico itself.

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