Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Dinner and drinks @ Wahaca, Canary Wharf

For those of you outside London, this is gonna be a boring, insignificant post. But i love doing restaurant reviews as it keeps me in touch with the job i miss terribly..I used to do restaurant, club, pub, hotel, boutique reviews for a living back in Chennai.
Wahaca in Canary Wharf (SE London), owned by 2005 Masterchef winner Thomasina Miers, aims at promoting Mexican street market eating. Like i have mentioned a zillion times before, i am a total sucker for Mexican grub and was pretty excited to try out this new restaurant so close to our place and secretly hoped it would be kick-ass and then i could quench my quesadilla cravings by just hopping over. There is a 'no reservations' policy at Wahaca because apparently in markets in Mexico, you can eat whenever you want and at whatever time of the day. You also are told that you will be served as and when the food is ready...there is no deal of starters first, followed by mains etc.
We walked in at about 7.30pm and didn't have to wait at all to be seated (The place was relatively empty). The interiors are quite swanky, although i didn't really get the market feel or anything, and spacious. Its more like communal dining with strangers sitting right next to you and sharing a huge wooden table made of recycled wood and laid with hand blown glass, a very familiar practise I've noticed in a lot of Thai, Japanese and Chinese restaurants...the communal dining that is!
After we were seated (I wouldn't say comfortable...since the seating was hard and there was no back rest which made it difficult to relax), our stewardess explained what the sauces were and the menu in general. There is a drinks and nibbles section, street food, mains and the desserts. We were told if we were just gonna go for the street food alone, it would be like tapas dishes, in small portions and would have to do at least 3 per person. After scrutinising the cocktail menu,Ro went for the Bloody Maria which was spicy and awesome and i had The Barragan- aMojito-ish drink, but really diluted. I didn't get the taste of tequila at all...and they went on and on about how they used the best tequila and all that jazz on the menu.

The Barragan and Bloody Maria

We picked the Pork Pibil- slow cooked Pork in a Yucatecan (a Mexican state) marinade served on a soft tortilla- for starters. The pork was brilliant, just melting in your mouth..extremely oily, i must add. I am not sure what the Yucatecan flavour was..i got very Indian flavours instead. The Chipotle chicken Quesadilla was average, i think i make better ones at home. Ordered a second round of cocktails. This time i went for the Tamarind Margarita...only to be disappointed again..It didn't have any hint of Tamarind which i thoroughly like and was actually looking forward to. Ro ordered the 'Day of the Dead' cocktail and it tasted like Sangria. Nothing out-of-this-world there as well.
Mains were even more disappointing. I am not that much of a seafood fan and since nothing else seemed to excite me, I opted for the Classic Enchillada and Ro went ahead with the Chicken Burrito. Accompanied/ stuffed with the same green rice, both were below average. The experience so far...not so great. I decided to give dessert a last chance and they let me down there as well. can anyone go wrong with churros? They were not sweet and crispy and hot and the chocolate dip was the only thing worth having. I think Taco Bell in the US serves better Mexican fast food than this for sure, but Wahaca...definitely not the best place to have authentic Mexican grub.
The only thing worth commenting was the service which was impeccable. The bill came up to a little over 45 quid which was pretty high, i would say, for something very average like this. I may be wrong about the food and it probably would be better the next time...but the question is...'Will there be a next time?' I'm not so sure. I'm a little put off at the moment.


vineetha said...

Tried Mexican food once,never tried it again..Didnt like it :)

An Open Book said...

I love Mexican food:)
I think it all depends on what you order...

mangocheeks said...

Not a boring post at all. I live in Scotland. I am so glad that you have written this review as this restaurant has been on my radar, as I like vegetarian Mexican food. Plus I have been aware of Thomasina Miers since her win on Masterchef. So thanks for sharing your experiences.