Wahaca - A Taste of Mexican Street Food

Sunday 24 November 2019
*Complementary Meal*

*Wahaca popped up in Southampton a while ago now but I've only recently visited & realised I am fully here for it. I've always loved Mexican food (even though my lactose intolerant body wishes I didn't) so I have no idea why it took me so long to try out their menu & when I did, I knew I would 100% be popping back. My most recent visit was with Southampton Bloggers to celebrate Dia de Los Muertos, although slightly late, while learning some Mexican history along the way.

You can tell everyone that is part of Wahaca put their heart & souls into making sure that you get the best experience of Mexican street food. The restaurant is the brain child of Thomasina & Mark, they opened their first branch in 2007, after Thomasina's stint on MasterChef which lead her to the win & now have 27 restaurants showcasing vibrant & delicious street food for all to try that doesn't cost the earth. The Southern Mexican State, Oaxaca (pronounced as Wahaca), is the beating heart of street food & the inspiration behind the restaurant & of course, the name. Thomasina travelled to Mexico where she discovered the flavours of street food & the passion that goes into creating the dishes which in turn, created her own passion to bring the vibrant street food to us!

We turned up to a brilliantly decorated table full of flower crowns for all, sugar skulls & a make your own margarita station. Our place mats were maps of Mexico which showed us where the food we were sampling originated from, which was a great touch, but first, Margaritas!

Once we were all settled in, it was time to get stuck into margarita making & of course I volunteered first. Aj & Rafa took care of us so well throughout the evening & took me through step by step of how to make the perfect margarita. Once we all had our drinks, it was time to dive into the history of Mexico including what Dia de Los Muertos means to their culture & about the place our food had originated. Basically, it was a drunk history class & honestly, it was great!

Once we had dived into all of that, it was time to start sampling some food along the way. Of course we started out with guacamole & tortilla chips, it'd be rude not to! Their guac is made fresh everyday & it's probably my favourite out of any restaurant I've had guac at, there's just something a little different about theirs, but good different.

The rest of the food was a selection of dishes from around Mexico, which is where the map place mats came in, we were able to see what parts of the country these had been inspired by & also through the evening we could see what the favourites were for each area as well as the change in flavour.

First up was the Pork Pibil Tacos, these are from the streets of Yucatan. These are soft tacos with the pork being slow cooked in citrus & spices with pink pickled onion. I'm so glad we got the try these as it's not something I have picked before but my god, were they flavoursome. May be in my top 3 of the night, although they had a spicy little kick to them which was just the right amount!

We then went on to try the Black Bean & Three Cheese Quesadillas which originate from the pulse markets of Guanajuato & are made with smokey bean, avocado leaf & all the cheese. I personally didn't try these ones, I just really can't deal with any kind of beans but the girls & said they were really good.

We swiftly moved onto a favourite of mine & what I usually order when I go in, the Chargrilled Chicken & Avocado Tacos, from the slopes of Michoacan, made with ancho rub, guacamole & green tomatillo salsa. I can not describe how good these are & now I'm writing about them....I need some. I'm not a huge avocado fan but the flavours within these tacos makes it a little less noticeable & all works together for an overall delicious taco. 10/10.

The next tacos then arrives & wow, did they divide the table. Plantain Tacos with hibiscus & crumbled feta, they also had some sort of sauce on there that was more savoury as the plantain is sweet, this dish comes from the Caribbean coast of Campeche. Honestly, not for me but some others were here for them. The mix of sweet & savoury always gets me.

There was a whole host of other dishes on offer including, Sweet Potato & Feta Taquito which is inspired by the corns from the markets of Oaxaca & also includes caramelised onions, salsas & chipotle mayo in a blue crisp corn tortilla as well as Sustainable Fish Tacos, from the seas of Baja California MSC Certified fish with slaw, chipotle mayo & pickles cucumber. 

We were then given the chance to order something we fancied from the menu, so call me basic, but I  needed me some Chicken Quesadillas, the Grilled Chicken Club Quesadilla to be exact, it's my ride or die & no one does them better then Wahaca. They are filled with grilled chicken, avocado, lettuce, chipotle mayo & of course, all the melted cheese. Unfortunately I was surrounded by people that hadn't tried them before so I had to share. They are SO good.

The night had to end with Churros y Chocolate, of course. They are usually eaten for breakfast, which is something I can get on board with. They were really good, the dipping chocolate was a bit rich for me, but I think that's because I'm an uncultured swine that usually opts for melted Nutella.

The night overall was an absolute blast. Every dish had a story & we got to listen to Mexican history while sipping margaritas. Honestly, history classes that include cocktails needs to be a thing because it's so much fun & the questions you think are stupid seem far less so with a marg down you!

Rafa & Aj were so attentive, knowledgeable & just an overall joy to have with us for the evening. Wahaca is also hot on allergens, some of the girls with us had their own food come up that had been cooked specially for them to cater for their needs, we were told everything that was in each dish & they couldn't get us another dish quicker if it wasn't suitable for someone. They made sure everyone could try everything & nothing was too much trouble.

It was such a friendly welcoming atmosphere, you could tell it was okay to have fun while you were in there & we were able to just enjoy the food as well as the company. I couldn't recommend Wahaca more, there has never been anything I could fault, whether that be visiting with bloggers or the other occasions that I've popped in. It's just a fab place to go!

Have you been to Wahaca before or do you now want to go?
Emily-May  x

* This meal was complementary in return for a review, please see disclaimer.

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