Back in January…

So there I was going though some photographs from January when I saw some delicious looking dishes from Wahaca. I realised that I had this great meal and hadn’t written (well I had started but not finished) a blog post about it.

Well, so back in January I was in London for a morning meeting, so I had been up early and was feeling hungry so was looking somewhere for lunch. I know how much I had enjoyed the food at Wahaca I decided it was pretty much a no brainer to go there for lunch, especially as I had a special offer in my email inbox.

The nearest branch to me was the Covent Garden one. Each Wahaca branch has its own style and feel. The Covent Garde branch is downstairs in the basement, but does feel quite bright and open.

There was a lovely warm welcome from the staff and I sat at the table and viewed the menu.

I had a special offer which meant I could get a dish for a pound.

Pack your January with veg and treat yourself with our ultimate range of vegetarian street food dishes. From buttermilk cauliflower bites to our mushroom and grilled cheese tacos there’s plenty of delicious veggie dishes to add to your meal. Just show this email to your waiter to get your dish for £1 

For me that was an easy choice and I went with the crispy cauliflower bites, crispy buttermilk-battered florets, with roast serrano allioli.

crispy cauliflower bites, crispy buttermilk-battered florets, with roast serrano allioli.

These were delicious crunchy florets with a soft melt in the mouth centre, accompanied with a tasty allioli. I really like these and enjoyed these.

I had another dish, the prawn cocktail tostada. 

prawn cocktail tostada

This was sustainably sourced prawns with red chilli mayo, crisp lettuce & avocado on crispy tostada. This was the Wahaca version of the prawn cocktail. It was not as good as I hoped, the prawns lacked flavour, as did the avocado, but it was still fresh and tasty.

My third dish was grilled mushroom & cheese tacos.

grilled mushroom & cheese tacos

These were sweet ancho rubbed mushrooms with crispy grilled cheese. The mushrooms were delicious and I really enjoyed that strong flavour of funghi and spicy ancho. I do find that Wahaca often add crispy grilled cheese to dishes, which I don’t always see that it adds anything to that dish.

I was feeling hungry, so I went with another dish and went with the steak and cheese tacos.

steak & cheese tacos

This was chargrilled steak served with grilled cheese, chipotle salsa & avocado. Again more grilled cheese. This use to be an optional extra, but now was part of the dish. I’ve had this dish a fair few times, and this was not the best version I’ve had of this dish, but it was still quite tasty.

Overall I enjoyed my four dishes, the mushrooms and cauliflower were certainly the ones I enjoyed the most.

Time for Steak Fajitas

I make versions of this dish quite often, but the method is pretty much the same. My main variation is on the kind of steak I use. I like using ribeye, but other cuts work just as well. For this version, I used a bavette cut of steak, I fried this in a frying pan and when I was happy with how it was cooked, I removed the steak from the pan and let it rest.

Whilst the steak is resting, in the same pan, I cook the onions and peppers. I usually add some fajita seasoning at this point. For one piece of steak I use one pepper and one onion. Though as I like different coloured peppers, I might use a third of three different kinds.

I do find when I am usually cooking a bavette cut that I undercook it, so after the steak had rested I sliced it and then finished off the steak in the pans with the onions and pepper.

The fajitas I serve with warm tortilla wraps, sour cream, guacamole and salsa. I also like to add some pea shoots into the mix as well and thinly sliced radishes.

Chipolatas on the Barbecue

One of the nice things I have enjoyed when self-catering at a Eurocamp in France is the gas barbecue that is outside every caravan. Something I have never experienced in the UK (maybe it rains too much).

One of the advantages of the barbecue is that you can avoid using the oven or grill in the caravan which can heat up the living area considerably, which when it is hot anyhow, makes it very uncomfortable.

On the first evening of our recent holiday to France, we popped to the local campsite shop for some quick extra supplies (we had brought some basics with us, as well as enough food for the first meal). However as we had time we thought we might get some French food for the evening meal.

I picked up a pack of Chipolatas sausages, which I grilled on the barbecue.

These were really nice, meaty, tasty and delicious. We had these quite a few times over the holiday.

Over the week, as well as Chipolatas I also did Merguez sausages, lemon chicken and some nice peppered rump steaks.

Most of the time we had these with salad, though I did cook Pommes Rissolées a couple of times, and also made a (gluten free) pasta salad as well.

The only challenge was on the final evening, though I regularly cleaned the griddle part of the barbecue, the bottom part did have too much grease on it, so we had some flames which resulted in certain pieces of food getting somewhat charred! When we go again I will clean this part of the barbecue as well.

Part of the (new) housekeeping agreement with Eurocamp, as well as emptying the fridge and doing the washing up, you also had to clean the barbecue.

Knowing this in advance, I did bring some metal scouring pads and cloths for this purpose. It came up okay, but having some proper cleaning spray or similar would have been useful. However I got there in the end.

I really enjoyed cooking on the barbecue during the week, it was quick to light up and made catering much quicker and easier.

That time I was in London for tacos

On one of my last visits to London before the lockdown I did pop to Wahaca at Oxford Circus. I have been there quite a few times and have enjoyed the atmosphere and the food.

As we were in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, this was a couple of weeks before the full lockdown, the place was still open. I was a little cautious about going to a restaurant and sitting down with others to eat. With hindsight I probably wouldn’t have gone, but at the time the risk seemed quite low and there was sanitiser available, and I was washing my hands a lot.

Each branch of Wahaca has it’s own charm and style, there are similarities across the different restaurants, but each has an element of individuality.

I was given a warm welcome and there were plenty of seats available. I looked over the menu and decided to go with some old favourites as well as trying out a new dish.

For my first choice, I chose a dish that I have had a fair few times before, which was the crispy cauliflower bites.

crispy buttermilk-battered florets of cauliflower, with roast serrano allioli

These are crispy buttermilk-battered florets of cauliflower, with roast serrano allioli.

These were delicious and lovely and crispy. I enjoyed the allioli which complemented the crispy florets. They are very moreish and tasty,

My other favourite was steak tacos.

chargrilled steak served with grilled cheese, chipotle salsa & avocado

These are two tacos filled with chargrilled steak served with grilled cheese, chipotle salsa & avocado. I much preferred these when the grilled cheese was optional, I don’t think the grilled cheese adds much to the dish. The steak was full of flavour and very tender.

The dish I ordered that I hadn’t had before, was the grilled mushroom & cheese tacos

sweet ancho rubbed mushrooms with crispy grilled cheese

These are sweet ancho rubbed mushrooms with crispy grilled cheese. The mushrooms were delicious, again not a fan of the grilled cheese.

I really enjoyed the three dishes which were tasty and delicious. The service was warm, friendly and welcoming, the food arrived quickly and efficiently.

At the time I was planning to come back to London later in March, so didn’t think this was going to be my last lunch in London for a long time. At the time of writing I have no idea when or even if I will be going back to London for work. As we know restaurants are closed and looking unlikely to re-open in the short term. I am though looking forward to the time when I can go back out to eat, but hopefully I will be able to visit Wahaca in the future and have some great food.

Argentine Steak from the market

Near the office there are plenty of places for lunch and on Wednesdays in New Street Square there is a street food market. On my most recent visit to the office I had forgotten about the market, so it was a nice surprise, when popping out for lunch that the market was running.

There were a wide range of stalls with a variety of choices. I was tempted by the Polish pierogi stall, then there was the Bao stall, I do like a nice steamed Vietnamese bun. I quite liked the look of the paella as well. In the end I went with the Argentine Grill, Criollo. They had a steak sandwich or a steak and salad box on their menu. I went with the steak and salad box.

Criollo street food stall

It comprised a box of mixed green leaves, cherry tomatoes, roasted red peppers with grilled bavette steak cooked with cheese. It was served with a fresh chimichurri sauce.

steak and salad box

This was one tasty box, the steak, though not melt in the mouth, was tender and full of flavour. The salad was fresh and delicious. The salad was simplistic, but complemented the steak and cheese. I think the only thing missing was some staple, I actually popped into Coco di Mama and bought some bread to go with my lunch.

Overall I was pleased with the dish and enjoyed it.

Temps pour un steak baguette s’il vous plaît

In the past I have had some poor eating experiences at Café Rouge so have generally avoided their branches when looking for somewhere for lunch. Either the food wasn’t as good as I was expecting, or more usually poor and late service. However I still like the concept of a French bistro and the menu often is quite enticing.

I had arrived early in Cheltenham for a meeting and wanted somewhere I could get some lunch I hadn’t even considered Café Rouge. I had a look round, and not wanting something too heavy or too expensive I wasn’t sure what to have. I then saw Café Rouge and recalled seeing a special offer with my Three Wuntu app.If you have a mobile phone contract with Three then you often can get special deals and offers. The Wuntu offer was for a baguette, burger or croque for just five pounds. Well that fitted the bill, so in I went, though I was a little cautious. There was a warm and friendly welcome and I was able to choose where to sit from a few options offered to me, which was nice. Alas for some reason I was unable to get a decent 4G signal at my table so was unable to do the work I had intended to do over lunch. Not sure why, probably the construction of the building. Glad I managed to sort out the special offer on my phone before I went in. This branch of Café Rouge looked similar to their other branches, they have tried to give the place a French feel and look. It works for me.

I perused the menu and in the end decided to go with the Steak Baguette. I didn’t really fancy a burger or croque so I went with the steak baguette. The steak baguette was filled with sliced Black Angus rump steak with red onion chutney, watercress and Dijon mayonnaise and served with my choice of fries or salad. I went with the fries.

sliced Black Angus rump steak with red onion chutney, watercress and Dijon mayonnaise and served with fries

It arrived on a narrow wooden platter with a bowl of fries. I wasn’t too sure about how I was going to eat this, as it felt like it might be a bit messy to eat. I should have asked for a plate!

The steak was cooked as requested and was quite flavoursome and tasty. I think it could have been sliced more thinly in order to make it easier to eat. The watercress and Dijon mayonnaise worked well with the steak, but I did feel the red onion chutney was a bit of a miss and I think it could have been left off entirely. The baguette was fresh, with a crispy crumb and fluffy inside. The fries were crispy and hot and were a nice accompaniment.

The only complaint I had wasn’t about the restaurant, but was about the deal, the steak baguette incurred a £2 supplement, which wasn’t clear in the offer terms and conditions. Also the steak baguette was cheaper than the burgers, so still not sure why it had the supplement. So it was £7 not a fiver, but that was still quite a good deal. It was nice to sit down and eat, rather than grab a sandwich on the go.

You never know I might go again!

Some good, some not as good as it could be

The last time I went to Wahaca at their Soho branch was in January this year and I enjoyed the dishes I had.

Though I was less impressed with the steak tacos I had, especially as I had really good steak tacos the week before at Charlotte Street.

Though I had completely forgotten about that when I visited the Soho branch for some lunch last month.

The Soho branch I suspect must get busy at lunchtime with tourists, but as I was eating just after the lunchtime rush, the place was quite empty and quiet. I find that each of the Wahaca branches has their own particular style which makes each of them a unique interesting place to eat.

I ordered three dishes, one of which was tacos with chargrilled steak served with grilled cheese & fresh guacamole

Tacos with chargrilled steak served with grilled cheese & fresh guacamole from

There use to be some really nice grilled steak tacos, I had these quite a few times. There were three soft corn tortillas which came with flash-grilled skirt steak with chipotle & tomatillo salsas with optional grilled cheese (I always avoided the cheese).

The new recipe called The Rib Eye, consists of two larger corn tortillas with chargrilled steak and is served with grilled cheese & fresh guacamole.

You do get more steak and it is very tender compared to the skirt steak they use to do, but it is also more expensive, about three pounds more than the old steak tacos price (60% more expensive).

It’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the tacos, I did, but I felt that the original recipe was really good and this wasn’t much of an improvement and certainly not a 60% improvement. I probably wouldn’t order them again.

My second small plate order was something I had ordered before which was buttermilk chicken flour tacos served crispy fried with pink pickled onions & spiced mayo.

Buttermilk chicken flour tacos served crispy fried with pink pickled onions & spiced mayo

This was again two larger flour tortillas with buttermilk friend chicken. I did think the chicken was slightly over-cooked, but it was crispy and the mayo and onions added flavour and texture.

My final small plate order was new on the menu, crab tostada dressed in chipotle mayo, served with pink pickled onions.

Crab Tostada dressed in chipotle mayo, served with pink pickled onions

You got two crispy tortilla with crab. I really enjoyed these, you could certainly taste the crab and it was a fresh tasty dish.

The only thing that let the meal down was the service, it took some time for my order to be taken and I had ordered some tap water with my meal and that was forgotten about, so I had to ask again. The fact that I had been seated around the corner meant that there wasn’t always an opportunity to get the attention of a member of the waiting staff to either place my order or ask for the water.

Overall the food was great and very tasty.

Time for some crown prince squash

Back in March staying over in London close to Oxford Circus I had plenty of choice for somewhere to eat but decided to go with Wahaca as I did quite fancy some tacos.

I find that each of the Wahaca branches has their own particular style which makes each of them a unique interesting place to eat. The Oxford Street branch is no exception and had a certain vibe. The place was quite busy but the friendly waiting staff managed to find me a table.

I usually order three dishes from the small plate street food menu and on this visit I did exactly that.

I really enjoyed the chargrilled crown prince squash.

Chargrilled Crown Prince squash grown by Riverford Organic, served with kale & cashew nut mole

The squash was grown for Wahaca by Riverford Organic and served with kale & cashew nut mole. I really enjoyed this dish, was full of flavour and very tasty. I think it could have been improved if the squash had been peeled, but the flesh of the squash did come away from the skin despite this. I really liked the chargrilled aspect of the dish and you could taste that in the squash. This dish is advertised as vegan, and I suspect people might avoid it, but if it comes back onto the menu, go for it, it was delicious.

I also went with the chargrilled steak Baja Tacos with avocado & chipotle salsas.

Chargrilled steak Baja Tacos with avocado & chipotle salsas

The steak was perfectly cooked and the tacos were very tasty.

I also ordered the chicken and avocado tacos with ancho rub, guacamole & green tomatillo salsa. Another tasty dish full of interesting flavours and textures.

The service was excellent and I really enjoyed my meal.

Fresh and full of flavour

steak and fries

I was in London for the day I had two meetings, but with a long in between, I was thinking about where to have lunch. The weather wasn’t brilliant, but at least it wasn’t raining (yet).

I wasn’t expecting it, but just down Tottenham Court Road was a street food market hidden on the side. Called the Goodge Street Market it’s in Fitzrovia, London and the stalls surround the church there.

There wasn’t a huge market, but there is certainly enough choice of different kinds of food.

There was a quite a choice, but one stand stood out to me, which was the Argentinian El Parrillon stand. As with other stands they were offering free samples and I took a sample of steak.As well as steak, their menu also offered Chimichurri chicken in a box, or you could have a mixed box.

I really liked the sound of the steak and fries, so I ordered that. The service was efficient and friendly.

The steak was cooked to order on a plancha. It was then cubed on the grill and once finished was served with fries and salad. You had a choice of Aioli, spicy sauce or Chimichurri. I went with the Chimichurri.

The steak had lots of flavour and was very tender. The fries were a little over-cooked for my liking, but were crispy. The salad was somewhat disappointing consisting of mixed leaves and nothing else. The Chimichurri was really nice and fresh and enhanced the dish.

I really enjoyed the steak and fries, with the Chimichurri adding flavours and freshness.

Time for another light lunch

Having visited Wahaca last week I said “I might not leave it so long next time.” Well rather than leave it a year, I left it less than a week.

Last week I was checking my e-mail when I got a special offer through from Wahaca offering me one from a choice of street food dishes for just one pound if I bought another. I used that special offer last week, but it’s a generic offer, so I could use it again this week. This time though I was at a different branch of Wahaca.

I was a bit more hungry this week, so decided to purchase just three dishes, two for full price and one for the offer price of a pound. So what of the food?

For the full price dishes, I first went with the chargrilled steak baja tacos with avocado & chipotle salsas. I had this last week and really enjoyed it, so decided to have it again.

chargrilled steak baja tacos with avocado & chipotle salsas

Though this was a delicious dish, I thought the version I had last week was so much better. The steak was chargrilled and sliced, but last week it was tender and rare, this time it was more medium. The salsas were tasty, not to spicy and complimented the steak nicely, however last week there had been a lot more salsa on the dish. So, yes it was a tasty dish, I think because I had high expectations I was slightly disappointed. I could have added grilled cheese for an extra fifty pence, but like last week I am glad I didn’t, because I don’t think it needs it. I do wonder why this is an extra?

I was tempted to have the buttermilk chicken baja tacos again, but I wanted to try out some new dishes. I went with some tacos, three soft corn tortillas, grilled & filled with grilled chicken & avocado with ancho rub, guacamole & green tomatillo salsa.

hree soft corn tortillas, grilled & filled with grilled chicken & avocado with ancho rub, guacamole & green tomatillo salsa

The chicken was slightly overcooked for my liking, but I did enjoy the tacos. A nice amount of spice and freshness in the avocado.

My final dish was the special offer one pound dish, a quesadillas, a flour tortilla, filled, folded & toasted with Trealy Farm chorizo with crushed sweet potato & cheese. This was spicy and tasty.

a flour tortilla, filled, folded & toasted with Trealy Farm chorizo with crushed sweet potato & cheese

The service was warm, friendly and excellent, the food service was quick and efficient. The experience reminded me again how much I enjoyed the Wahaca food.