Pseudo-lebrity Chefs: Wahaca

I first went to Wahaca several Fridays ago. The following day I went to Manchester, sad that my dress was ruined but happy that the food tasted good.

Waterloo Wahaca on a Friday night unsurprisingly requires a roughly half hour wait. They give you a buzzer and allow you to sit at the bar. How kind.

The bartender recommended a new cocktail – the spiced daquiri, with rum, winter spices and fresh lime. It was sweet, refreshing and indeed spicy, and better than the Wahaca Colada that Paul had. Men can have fruity cocktails too. He tried my daquiri and agreed. The bartender was clearly after a tip. He did not get one.

Half an hour later we were plonked on a small table next to a family of three. I get the feeling that they may have had to move the child to seat us, but I’m sure that the staff had more decorum than to do that.

They should maybe have given us a menu while we were waiting at the bar as it took another ten or so minutes to decide on what to have. The one thing that I knew that I definitely wanted was the black bean starter which came recommended by Hans. Being able to read well, I, of course, ordered the wrong thing, opting for the black bean and tomatillo tostada when what I meant to order was the frijoles and tortilla chips.

After much looking at the menu (link below), we opted for “an adventure”, because we were feeling adventurous and decisions are hard.


Plus an addition of the black bean tostada. I wanted to try the fish tacos, but that’s for another time I suppose.

There are seven dishes on the “an adventure” menu, plus churros as a dessert. Add the addition of the tostada, and we ended up trying nine menu items in total. All were very good.

This is probably an unfashionable thing to say, as Wahaca is a chain and chains have no soul. But chains happen for a reason, and Thomasina Miers did win Masterchef – fine, before it was really difficult and “cheffy”, but in the series that made me fall in love with Masterchef and expose me to the world of professional cooking – so clearly has a somewhat good palate and passion from cooking. Tasting the food from Wahaca, there is no “somewhat” about it; it’s just damn tasty food. Even the cauliflower cheese was notably delicious.

My highlight would either be the salmon sashimi tostada, with the texture edging it ahead, or the pork pibil tacos, although I did add quite a bit of sauce to this. That’s what table sauces are for though.

The family next to us were replaced by a loud gaggle of American students.Four were seated at the table for two. I wondered how Paul could stand to work with American students every day, then I thought I should stop being such a dastardly misery.

We ordered more drinks. Again I grappled with the order and went with the waiter’s recommendation of the passion fruit margarita. Ten minutes later he came by to ask how are cocktails were. We had not yet received them. He stormed to the bar and shortly afterwards we received our cocktails.

The churros were the biggest disappointment of the meal, not least because I am a klutz and spilled chocolate sauce all down Friday Dress. The chocolate was very nice and rich, but I remain unconvinced by churros. Give me a doughnut, or most other desserts, any day.

I went to get an early night for my 5.30am wake up call.

Round 2 #FatFriday

Hans was determined to celebrate Fat Friday this week. I was not really particularly bothered so just figured that we would go for a walk and see what happened.

We walked down Leather Lane.

He did not fancy Leather Lane.

We “headed North West”, but somehow ended up back at the Exmouth Market Post Office: the great magnet of the EC region.

We continued walking up, passed Sadlers Wells, and I decided that we would venture to Angel. Getting there in good time, we went further down Upper Street. At this point Hans realised that his sister lived very close by and I realised that I had eaten at a Pizza Express there with Muriel two years earlier. Muriel and I also returned £100 that the person in front of us at the ATM forgot to take. He didn’t seem very bothered, but another woman came up to us and exclaimed that she saw what we did and we were good people. We didn’t end up in Metro Good Deed Feed, so how good was our deed really?

Time was getting on so we figured that we should turn around. Hans suggested that we walk through Islington Green as our turning point. He then suggested that we went to Chipotle.

“If you want Mexican we might as well go to that Wahaca across the road.”

“They don’t do takeout.”

“We’ll see. I quite fancy that black bean stuff that I ordered wrong last time.”

They did do takeout, but their menu was limited to burritos and basic sides.

Hans ordered a pork burrito. I ordered the off-menu frijoles, which they happily obliged in putting through for takeout.

We spotted a fooseball table and played that until our food came (10 minutes maybe?). In this time, Hans managed to beat me three times over. We had far too much fun with such a basic game. I really am terrible at it.

A load of customers came in. Upper Street gets busy on a lunchtime. Our food came. We left.

Walking Lunch: they gave us two big bags of tortillas and a pot of salsa with our frijoles. I dipped in. Refried beans (and some crumbly cheese) shouldn’t really be that tasty. Why have refried beans not overtaken salsa as the dip of choice? It was a perfect “nibble”/starter to any Mexican meal.

Once I inhaled the frijoles I realised that I had been holding the pot of salsa but not tried it. Hans suggested I eat it at my desk. I did. It was disappointing.

The burrito had a crisp wrap – I would suggest that all burrito places follow suit as it adds a pleasant texture to an otherwise excess part of the meal (excess, except for the purpose of holding the food together).

A Side Note

Hans loves Mexican food but is quite blasé about burritos. Our first #business #lunch was at Daddy Donkey which I very much enjoyed and he thought was fine. I spiced mine better, asking for chunky corn and smoky chipotle, whereas he just went for the chile de arbol. It was the fastest burrito I have ever seen made, and is the biggest that I have had so far. Not bad for £5.95 (for pulled pork). I even said that it was my favourite burrito in London.

Back to Review

Wahaca knocked Daddy Donkey, and every other burrito that I’ve had, out of the water. The flavours were complex and interesting (often burritos are very much of a muchness), and the way that the sauce dripped meant that it got tastier the more you ate of it.

My gloves are now dirty, as is Hans’ suit, but by gum was it worth it! That, and taking a lunch break 15 minutes over my allotted time. The absolute greed.

The tastiest burrito that I’ve ever had. And Hans has ever had.

Freshly cooking it certainly makes a difference. This may be the end of my fast food burrito days. Crisp up those tortillas, all.

I didn’t eat for a while after just so I could savour the aftertaste.

Play it again, Thomasina. I don’t know how to finish this.

9/10 – you can’t stay clean if you’re doing Wahaca right. A darn tasty Mexican joint (I speak like this now).





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