Bhavani is a great fan of Mexican food. Ever since she first ate at a Mexican Restaurant (TexMex) back in 2003, she was hooked. I got to like Mexican food gradually over the years. On one of our Saturday night outs, we went to the Wahaca Restaurant in Canary Wharf. We had watched Thomasina Miers in 2005 win the MasterChef competion and were quite excited to learn that she had opened a chain of Mexican street food restaurants from 2007. The latest edition was the Canary Wharf branch.
The location, as I had mentioned in the past, was fabulous because it was bang right in the middle of Canary Wharf. Because the evening was chilly, we quickly made it from the car park into the Park Pavilion building in Canada Square and had to take a lift to the upper floor to get to the restaurant. The first impression was that it looked crowded and noisy and reminded me of TGI Friday’s mashed with Wagamama (more on that later).
We were ushered to a table by a nonchalant waitress who mumbled some thing about some one coming along to take care of us. The table had a set of chairs on one side with backs and a bench like seating on the other side with out backs. Wagamama has similar bench like seating. These tables were lined up like a canteen and since we got the end bit, I moved my chair to the end instead of sitting opposite Bhavani on the bench with no back.
Our waiter arrived a few minutes later with our menus and turned out to be the best thing about that evening. He was quite charming and friendly and took his time explaining what Wahaca was all about. He explained the various sections of the menu related to Mexican street food and the drinks section. We started by ordering two cocktails – Tequila with passionfruit which was nothing to write home about. In fact I could not taste the tequila at all. After sipping the cocktails quietly for a few minutes I decided to fall back to our trusted wine and ordered the Rey Viejo Tinto (Spanish Wine) which turned out to be fabulous!
The waiter suggested we start off with Guacamole served with either tortilla chips while we decided to what to order. The Guacamole is not my favorite but Bhavani seemed to enjoy it quite a bit. For me, it was far too bland and mushy.
For the starters, we ordered Chicken tinga (Tender chicken in a smoky tomato sauce topped with crema and extra-hot chipotle adobo), Grilled British steak With chipotle salsa and Chipotle chicken (Chicken cooked in a spicy tomato marinade). We asked for extra spice and the Chipotle was super spicy. The grilled steak was not too spicy but the Chipotle Chicken was out of this world!
For the mains we ordered MSC fish a la Pimienta (Grilled fresh MSC haddock with a melting onion, black pepper, fresh lime and pumpkin seed sauce, served with green rice and salad) and Marinated Grilled chicken (Chargrilled chicken breast in homemade Yucatecan marinade of cumin, oregano and spices. Served with green rice and spicy pickled onions). The grilled haddock was superb with the right amount of seasoning but the green rice was a let down. The grilled chicken was a little chewy and dry.
As we are our food, the restaurant was getting busier and by the time we finished our meal, it was so noisy we could not hear each other. It was like eating in a night club! The ambience was nice, although not authentic Mexican. The food was average and again not very authentic Mexican but the service was quite good.
I would rate this restaurant 3/5 stars and would recommend it for an informal dinner but not as a romantic venue.