HOLA LONDON! It’s on! It’s happening! This is the first of 211 London Things! And it’s a nice and fairly cheap mini-chain restaurant! Ah well. Some of our later spree-lets are definitely on the crazier side, don’t you worry.
We stumbled into Wahaca while looking for somewhere different in Covent Garden, but there are branches in Soho’s Wardour Street, Canary Wharf and the mighty Westfield shopping centre too.
Wahaca is doing ‘the Wagamama thing’ of broad tables staffed by complex-haired youngies, filled with high-noise natterers eating a well-behaved urban version of an ethnic cuisine. This is Mexican Market Food, though. The idea is you buy several small dishes, so you can snack on small tacos, quesadillas and tostados. Yeah, a bit like Mexican tapas. Dishes come as they’re cooked (like at Wagamama) and after a fifty-minute wait for a table, ours arrived with bewildering speed after we ordered.
Does it really resemble authentic Mexican street food? Who cares? It tasted pretty good. Plus, I have no idea what Mexican street food tastes like. It could taste like cat piss and strawberries for all I know. But Wahaca’s mini bites are deeply spiced and satisfying, and they avoid that dead-eyed blandness that can affect cheap mexican food. (Simple rule – if the menu’s laminated, run a mile.)
With two or three small dishes each, the food was big but not heavy – also a happy change from trad mexicans – so dessert forced itself on us. Mrs Brown had vanilla ice cream brought to life with crunchy pumpkin seeds, and I had a mini trio of those lovely little fresh-fried donuts called churros with a rich choc dipping sauce.
Wahaca’s sparky, youthful and fun, and the waiting crowds in the Covent Garden branch (there’s a no-book policy) show that it’s got a good chance of expanding and taking over Giraffe and Las Iguana’s high-street niche. It’s not as backpacker worthy as those two slightly irritating destinations, either.
Right then! Only 210 events, places, restaurants and shows to go! How are we going to manage it? Haven’t got a clue, dear.