I was staying at the Doubletree Hilton in Ealing and was eating in the hotel restaurant.
I decided to go for a starter, choosing the nachos. I quite like nachos and have had them back home. These nachos were described on the menu as tortilla chips with sour cream, tomato salsa, guacamole, jalapenos and cheese.
I was quite surprised by the size of the dish, it was a large plate of nachos and I was unable to finish all the nachos!
The nachos had been toasted, so the cheese was melted. The sour cream, tomato salsa, guacamole, was all fine. I didn’t eat too many of the jalapenos though.
I used some tinned black beans, this timeI used a can from Aldi. Previously I used Old El Paso black beans, the ones from Aldi were a lot cheaper and were a good replacement.
To the beans I added some tortilla chips. I then dressed the dish with guacamole, tomato salsa,, sour cream, grated cheese, and chopped fresh avocado. I garnished the dish with some homemade pink pickled onions.
It was a really nice and fresh dish, and was a good copy of the dish I had in London.
The last time I went to Wahaca it was just before lockdown. In May 2022 I was up in London for an event with my son, and afterwards we decided to get something to eat. Our first choice was Bills in Victoria, but they were full. So, I suggested that we head to Oxford Circus and go to Wahaca. We caught a tube across London.
We arrived to find there was a bit of a wait for a table, well it was a Friday evening in London, not too surprising. We decided that we would wait. It wasn’t too long before a table was free, we sat down and looked over the menu.
We chose six dishes, the one we started with, was the Mexico City nachos which I discussed here and was the highlight of our meal.
We also had three plates of tacos.
We had the grilled chicken and avocado tacos with ancho rub, guacamole & green tomatillo salsa, served in two soft corn tortillas.
I have had these before, the chicken for me was slightly overcooked, but the flavours were excellent. I like the addition of the guacamole to the spicy chicken.
There was also the chargrilled steak & cheese tacos, chargrilled bavette steak with grilled cheese, chipotle and avocado salsas, in two soft corn tortillas.
Another dish I have had before, these were very tasty. Though I think I have had better ones before. The steak was nice and tender and the salsas added a contrast of flavours and textures. Never see the point of the grilled cheese, preferred it when it was an option and I could choose not to have it.
Our final choice of tacos were the buttermilk chicken tacos, this was crispy fried chicken, with pink pickled onions and spiced mayo, in two soft flour tortillas.
I have had these before also. The chicken was overcooked and dry, but I liked the pink pickled onions.
Overall these were nice tacos, not the best I’ve had, but certainly they were tasty.
I was once a regular listener to the This Week in Google podcast though I have been listening infrequently these days with less commuting. You may well be asking what has this got to do with food and tacos.
Well when I was listening, Jeff Jarvis and Gina Trapani would often mention the Chipotle chain of stores, I really liked the concept that the would often talk about. When I realised that there were branches in London I thought I must try it out some time…
It was one of the places I wanted to go, but despite visiting London on a regular basis it was never really close enough to visit when I was looking for lunch.
So ten years later’ I still had never gone to Chipotle.
Then on a recent visit to London, I was on Chiswick High Road, going to the M&S Food Hall when I actually realised there was a branch of Chipotle on the other side of the road. Hmmm I thought, well this was my chance to try some tacos.
I went with the grilled steak tacos. I was warned that these might be a bit spicy, but I thought no, let’s go for it. I went with the fresh tomato salsa
I did think the guacamole was a little overpriced, at £2.10. I said no to that, knowing I had some already. Having looked at the menu before going in, I actually got some, well a whole tub, from Tesco for £1.15 before then heading back to Chipotle.
I did have the sour cream, cheese and some beans as well.
I then headed back to the hotel with my food.
The beef was spicy (as promised) and I would have liked a little more sour cream. They were also a little cold, think they really needed to be eaten straight away rather than wrapped and taken away.
These were nice tacos, but nothing special. I don’t think I would go out of my way to get them in the future.
These are a regular dish at home and enjoyed by everyone in the family.
We use the kits from most supermarkets, which contain a bag of tortilla chips, and usually two sachets of salsa.. To this I usually add some grated cheese before heating in the oven for five or six minutes.
I serve them with guacamole and sour cream. Sometimes I will add the fajita mix to mine.
I do now check the ingredient list as, for example, the Asda kit contains gluten as it had Barley Malt Extract used in the salsa..
It was early evening and I hadn’t expected the place to be so busy, but it was basically full. The manager though was wonderfully welcoming and made a real effort to find me a table. This level of customer service was excellent and made me feel welcome. The place was really busy and noisy, but that really added to the atmosphere. As with other branches of Wahaca, this one had its own style and decor. It was quite dark in the restaurant, but I am not sure if that was intentional, or that on the occasions I have visited the place it has been in the evenings!
Since that previous visit the menu had changed, as it does quite often. I had intended to have one of the specials that I missed out on my most recent visit to Wahaca which were the grilled fish tacos. Alas that wasn’t meant to be, as they had changed their specials to the Christmas ones, and I didn’t fancy the turkey dinner taquito! I did think about getting those crispy cauliflower bites again, however in the end I decided I should choose something new.
I was quite hungry, so I did order some nachos and guacamole.
There was a decent portion of guacamole and the nachos were crunchy and not too salty.
So what of my street food choices? Well I went with three dishes and my first choice was the duck croquetas, these are crispy duck & sweet potato balls with smoky hibiscus & chipotle salsa.
They were a delight, crispy outside and smooth tender inside. Great flavours and the smoky hibiscus & chipotle salsa was delicious and really complemented the croquetas.
On my last visit to this branch I had really enjoyed the butternut squash.
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.
So when I saw the roasted butternut squash tacos, with a creamy cashew nut and herb mole, citrusy tomatillo salsa and pumpkin seeds, of course I had to choose it.
It was a very different dish to what I had before. As you can see it was a couple of tacos filled with chunks of roasted butternut squash. The dish before had been very different.
It had consisted of large chunks of chargrilled butternut squash.
However though it wasn’t the same dish, I really enjoyed the new tacos version, it was full of flavour and very tasty.
My third choice was hard, I did consider the mushroom tacos, but in the end I went with something I had ordered before which was buttermilk chicken flour tacos served crispy fried with pink pickled onions & spiced mayo.
They were delicious, great textures and flavours.
The table services was excellent, friendly and efficient. Despite how busy the place was, the food arrived in good time. You can tell how popular this place was, as I left there was a huge queue of people waiting for tables. Will I go again, well I will, if I can get in next time.
It was just after the lunch time rush, so the place was quiet, but I was given a warm welcome and lead to a table. Each Wahaca I have been to, has a different feel and look and the Soho branch has a unique individual environment. There is a somewhat industrial feel to the place, but it’s warm and friendly, not necessarily cold and inhuman.
I looked over the menu and as it has been some time since I last went to Wahaca, there were some new choices on the street food menu. I did think about having my usual grilled steak tacos. Last time I was at the Soho branch they did a new (more expensive) version of the dish with ribeye steak. Back then I said:
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.
The new version is similar to the original version, but you have to have the cheese, unlike the original version where it was an option. However this time I decided that I would have something different and would not go with the steak.
I did think about having the buttermilk chicken tacos again, I have enjoyed them before. However as I was thinking about having the crispy cauliflower bites, I decided that I didn’t want too much crispy stuff, so decided to choose something else. For similar reasons I also decided not to go with the duck croquetas, crispy duck & sweet potato balls with smoky hibiscus & chipotle salsa, which I really liked the sound of. When the waiter came to take my order, he showed me the specials, there were two, the grilled fish tacos looked interesting and tempting.
In the end I went with some beef tacos, grilled chicken tortillas and the crispy cauliflower bites.
The first dish to arrive were some slow-cooked beef tacos with mild spices, with black beans, served in three soft corn grilled tortillas.
These were excellent, the beef was full of favour, not too spicy. I really enjoyed the addition of the pickled cucumber on top of the tacos. It was a great blend of tastes and textures. They are certainly something I would order again.
The next two dishes arrived at the same time. One of the things you either like about Wahaca or you don’t is that dishes arrived when they are cooked rather than all coming together. This is fine if you are sharing dishes or eating alone, but less great when as a group or a family you have ordered individual dishes.
The first of the pair of dishes was two larger corn tortillas, grilled and filled with grilled chicken and avocado, with ancho rub, guacamole & green tomatillo salsa.
These were generously filled and I really enjoyed them. The chicken was sightly over-grilled for my liking, but they were still nice. I liked the avocado and the green tomatillo salsa added some nice spice to the dish.
My final dish was the crispy cauliflower bites, crispy buttermilk-battered florets, with roast serrano allioli.
These sounded really interesting and they looked great and tasted even better. I was really pleased to have ordered these. The little florets of cauliflower were covered in a light buttermilk batter, deep fried and were crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. When I have tried to cook this kind of dish at home, I find that my batter is too thick. This kind of dish and inspired me to try again with a lighter thinner buttermilk batter. The roast serrano allioli was interesting and really worked well with the cauliflower. I think this was my favourite dish of the trio I ordered and would like to have them again.
The service was excellent, warm and friendly welcome, attentive, efficient service. Overall these were three excellent dishes and I really enjoyed them.
Another lunch and another visit to Wahaca. This time a return visit to the branch on the South Bank. This was the first Wahaca I visited and it is one of my favourites. I like how the whole place is just made from shipping containers, and the great views across the Thames.
This time I went with three dishes from the street food market (as I normally do).
I do like the grilled steak tacos, I have had these quite a few times now. These tacos come with flash-grilled skirt steak with chipotle & tomatillo salsas.
These were very nice, most of the steak was tender and tasty, one bit was a bit chewy, but apart from that they were delicious.
For my two other choices I went with new dishes. I do like chicken wings, so was intrigued by the hibiscus glazed wings.
These were described as crisp & juicy chicken wings tossed in a sticky hibiscus & pasilla chilli glaze.
The chicken wings had been cooked in the deep fat fryer and were lightly tossed in the glaze. I had quite a high expectations for this dish, but in the end it was slightly disappointing. The chicken was slightly dry, however the sauce was nice.
My final choice was the Mexico City style salmon sashimi tostadas. Made from sustainably-sourced raw salmon with a squeeze of fresh lime & soy, tobacco onions, chipotle salt, avocado & chipotle mayo.
I really liked these. A nice combination of fresh tasting salmon combined with crunchy corn tortillas and a nice spicy zing.
I have found that I have enjoyed every meal at Wahaca and will most certainly be visiting again.
Those who read this on a regular basis will know that I have a fondness for the Wahaca restaurants after an introduction to their style of food on the South Bank in London.
Since discovering this delight of Mexican street food and realising they had a branch in Clifton in Bristol, I have been itching to try the food there.
Using a gift voucher I went there for a quick lunch. One of the quirks (or is just a nice feature) of the Wahaca chain is that every restaurant has their own unique style. I think what surprised me most about the Bristol branch was the TARDIS style dimension, it is very much bigger on the inside then it appears on the exterior.
It was quiet early and I think I was the only person the restaurant, which surprised me, I was expecting it to be busier. Certainly I have queued for the South Bank restaurant and down in the heart of Bristol the food places are very busy (even from mid day).
As is my usual lunch, I went for three items from the street food menu. These are small dishes and three is more than ample for lunch (in some cases with the larger ones you could get away with just eating two).
The menu had changed since my last visit with new market treats and of course the regularly changing specials menu.
I was tempted by the new hibiscus glazed wings, alas they must have been popular and were off the menu. Still there were two other things from the new market treats menu that sounded rather nice.
My first choice was the Huitlacoche empanadas. Crispy pastry parcels stuffed with mushrooms, truffley Mexican corn & melted cheese.
These were delicious. The filling though was, as might be expected when using mushrooms was a rather unappetising grey mush. Despite that, I did enjoy the parcels and really liked the presentation. One thing that I have started doing myself which was on this dish was adding thinly sliced radish as a garnish, for crunch and flavour.
My second choice were the crispy prawn tacos. Corn tortillas stuffed with chopped prawn, chillies, spring onion & coriander, cooked until crispy, served with guacamole, tomato salsa & chipotle mayo.
The tacos had been filled and rolled and deep fried giving them a nice crunch. You could taste the prawn filling and it was still fresh and tasty. The accompaniments of salsa and guacamole worked, but I did feel I had slightly too much chipotle mayo.
For my third choice I went with one of the specials, Beef mole taco, this was unctuous, slow cooked beef shin, cooked in a rich Oaxacan mole. It was served in warm corn tortillas with sweet plantain puree and fiery chile de arbor salsa.
You got two beautifully presented open tacos, the beef was rich in flavour, tender and tasty.