The majority of food critics only write about ludicrously expensive restaurants. I don’t blame them. If I could eat for free wherever I went, I too would dine at three Michelin starred restaurants every night. Sadly, however, I have to pay for my food, so I review restaurants where normal people can afford to eat, whether trendy new burger bars or Mexican chain restaurants or even my local wetherspoons (where, incidentally, one can get a fairly good steak and a pint for £6- not bad if you’re strapped for cash!)
I was working on my birthday so I couldn’t go for a proper slap up meal. As I only had an hour I wanted somewhere close to the office, inexpensive, with tasty food. I decided on the Charlotte Street brach of the Mexican chain restaurant Wahaca. For now there are only 13 restaurants, all in London, but these things grow so quickly I doubt it will remain such a small chain for long. This particular restaurant had been beautifully done with that perfect attention to detail and “quirkiness” which, ironically, only chain restaurants see to be able to perfect. Like the rest of central London at feeding timespace was at a premium. It was not a relaxed meal but the atmosphere was buzzy rather than claustrophobic. The service was good although I really dislike the way that chain restaurants can’t just stand up and admit what they are. By this I mean, the waiter felt the need to write his name on the top of the paper menu and buddy up to us in order to try and convince us we really were at a Mexican street feast. Everyone knew we were not.
The food however was delicious…
It was a million miles away from the scores of burrito and taco places that line the streets nowadays. It felt like proper Mexican, I have never been to Mexico and I am sure the food is far superior to Wahaca’s, what I mean is they offer far more than an old el paso fajita kit. My boyfriend and I shared 4 tapas type dishes, dubbed ‘street food’. Their pork pibil was smokey and spicy, served inside soft corn tacos and topped with sweet, sharp pickled onions, yum! Also delicious was the crab tostada with avocado. Less exciting was the chicken taquito, essentially a Mexican spring roll using a tortilla. It looked promising but had been fried for too long making it crispy and the chicken dry, the salad it came with was, however, lovely.
Price ££- It wasn’t the cheapest meal in the world but not bad value at about £15 a head including alcohol.
Rating **- All in all food was nice, service was pleasant as was the atmosphere.