Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from goo.gl/Ta4oAX.
Published June 3rd 2014
Mexican Market Eating
Wahaca, The Broadway, Wimbledon
After watching Malificent at the Wimbledon Odeon, my dad and I decided to eat out for dinner. There are plenty of places to choose from in Wimbledon, but most convenient is the one right next door. Not so long ago, this venue was a steak house called The Grill. Since I'm not a big meat eater, it was somewhere I never considered going. Very recently, however, The Grill closed down, and has now been replaced by a Mexican Tapas restaurant. Wahaca might be new to Wimbledon, but it already had several chains across London.
The story begins with Tommi Miers, an English cook, writer, and television presenter. She founded Wahaca after spending time living and working in Mexico. On her return home, Tommi was disheartened to find that the idea of Mexican cuisine in England -
tequila girls, cheap shots. and greasy tortilla chips - was unfavourably distorted. Tommi decided it was time to shake things up a bit, Wahaca style, so created a seasonal menu to match the inspirational and lively flavours of the Mexican Market Streets.
What 's the Spanish for al fresco dinning?
Opening her first restaurant in Covent Garden, Tommi was dedicated to creating an environmentally efficient venue. Her ethos is to source local and sustainable ingredients, while serving customers a healthy but hearty meal.
The Wimbledon venue is located at the Piazza, creating perfect space for eating outside on a nice day. The colourful chairs create a party atmosphere, and make you feel happy before even stepping inside.
When we did walk in, we were instantly greeted by a very friendly woman, who couldn't have been more accommodating if she tried. At a lot of places, a waiter just takes you to a seat, but at Wahaca she asked if we wanted a window seat, or somewhere more secluded at the back.
I opted for a window seat because it seemed a shame to waste the natural bright light of a summer's evening. She pulled out the table from the booth to make it easier to get in, and then explained how the process worked.
The menu also acts as your place mat.
On the menu, you have the choice of ordering street food or platos fuertes. The street food is small tapas dishes, in which you should order two or three per person, while platos fuertes means 'bigger plates', and is a full sized course for one. There are also plenty of nibbles, sides, and drinks.
Pacifico Clara, £3.85
From the drinks menu there is a selection of Mexican beers, wine, 100% agave tequila shots, malt whiskeys, and cocktails. If you don't drink, you can still party with a mocktail, or choose from soft drinks, tea & coffee.
Hibiscus Water, £1.75
Usually I just ask for tap water, but this time, a glass of hibiscus water sounded too good to pass up. Livened up with cranberry and lime, the sharpness of the fruits gave this soft drink an almost sparkling taste. It was brimming with ice cubes, which made it lovely and cold, but also filled up half the glass, so I got less of a drink than I originally thought.
Frijoles (£2.50) and Green Rice (£2.30)
For the sides we chose frijoles and green rice. Frijoles are creamy black beans; they are cooked twice for flavour, and had cheese crumbled on top. Although the pot was small, the beans were very rich, so I could only have a couple of spoonfuls. The green rice, on the other hand, took no time at all to polish off. It was blitzed with coriander, onions, and garlic.
Pork Pibil Taco, £4.10
Four our mains, Dad and I shared street food tapas, which included soft corn tacos, crispy tostadas, and toasted quesadillas that range from £3.70 - £5.25. Dad ordered tacos he was familiar with, such as pork pibil and British steak, but I like trying out new foods, so went for the vegetarian cactus taco and plantain taco.
Plantain Taco, £3.95
Dad's favourite was the mildly spiced pork, and even though I am not a pork person, I also enjoyed it. My favourite, however, was the plantain. I have been wanting to try plantain for some time now, and although I have occasionally seen fresh plantain at the market, I've never been quite sure what to do with it. Plantain basically looks like a giant banana, only with slightly greener skins, and is meant to be cooked before eating. The plantain in my taco was fried with feta and chipotle sauce. Firmer than normal bananas, it tasted fruity without being sweet, and had a slight tang to it.
Cactus Taco, £4.10
I also thoroughly enjoyed the cactus taco, which was served with courgette, grilled cheese and guajillo chilli oil. Although nice, I can't actually describe what the cactus tasted like because it blended with all the other flavours.
Steak Taco, £4.80
We both agreed that the steak taco was too chewy, and would have been better served minced than in chunks. It was the only one I didn't finish.
Wahaca's chilli sauces are available to buy and take home.
On our table were two Wahaca own brand chilli sauces: smoky chipotle and fruity habanero. Both were very nice, but not really necessary, considering how well seasoned the dishes already were.
Passionfruit Sorbet, £3.95
The dessert menu is very chocolatey; there is chocolate tart, chocolate cake, and Wahaca's favourite, churros with chocolate sauce. I fancied something a little cooler to act as a refresher after from some of those warming chilli spices. There was a choice of vanilla ice cream with pumpkin seeds, salted caramel ice cream, mango sorbet, or passion fruit sorbet. The passion fruit won. Dense and packed with flavour, it was absolutely beautiful.
Chocolate Tart, £4.95
Dad ordered the chocolate tart with a hint of chilli, which was equally as dense. So much so that it was a struggle to slice. The bright plastic spoons look pretty, but were not very practical for the job.
We left Wahaca feeling satiated, but not uncomfortably full. I have a feeling we'll be going again after our next cinema trip.