I have been banging on about how much I love Wahaca since I discovered the chain in about 2010. Back then all the restaurants were in London, so I’d plan days out to visit museums and concerts at the o2, always sneakily incorportating a little trip to Wahaca in the process. In fact now I think about it, I’ve been to the Wahaca in Covent Garden on 2 or 3 of my birthdays, in a row. So, yes – it’s fair to say I was a bit of a Wahaca fanatic. So, when I heard that my favourite Mexican food was coming to Brighton, you can only imagine the happy little dance I did around my living room. Although, my first thought being that I will probably will turn into a taco with the amount I’m going to eat being so close to home, I was SO excited nonetheless.
So, with happy dance number one occurring when I realised Wahaca was expanding to Brighton, happy dance number two came along when I had an email dropped into my inbox…… inviting me to the Press Launch dinner………… (!!!!). Cue happy dances, three, four and five all at once. In my book, for personal blogging goals – I’m reviewing my favourite place, I feel like I’ve officially MADE IT.
So, crazy Mexican food fangirling over, let’s talk about the new restaurant and the evening. Wahaca Brighton is located right on the corner of North Street and New Road, being right in the centre of the town, the restaurant is located both close to the shopping centre and in the perfect spot for dinner before a show at the Theatre Royal or at the Dome.
The inside is a burst of bright colours, Mexican street art, industrial furniture and neon lights, with funky latin beats playing to set the tone. Wahaca has always been quite a loud, brash and open environment so I was pleased to see at the Brighton restaurant there are some quite nice booths separated by plants and dividers, making some areas more intimate than others, which is a nice touch if you can grab yourself a booth.
We were taken to our table by our lovely waitress Mela, who was wearing an amazing floral crown making her look like she had a snapchat filter on, permanently! After introducing herself, Mela asked all about our dietary requirements and allergies. As V is alergic to fish, she clearly marked out on the menu which dishes were not suitable, as well as which dishes were fried in the same pan. Lastly, she brought out an additional menu with all the allergy advice for each dish, which I thought was super helpful as we always struggle with V’s allergies, even if she doesn’t order fish, sometimes the cross-contamination can be enough for a reaction so we have to be really careful. I was so impressed by their attention to detail and the care they took with our order.
We started our meal with some Chunky Guacamole and Tortilla Chips, along with a couple of cocktails, of course!
As we perused the menu for our main courses, we got to meet the founder of the Wahaca chain, Thomasina Miers, who gave us her top recommendations from the menu and a couple of sneaky hints as to what might be on the summer menu (coming this week I believe!). She was absolutely lovely to chat to and a real inspirational woman. I wished I could have had time to ask her more questions about her fascinating story.
The main part of the menu is the street food – you order around 2-3 smaller dishes per person. We did this and when the order arrived, we just popped it all in the middle and shared everything, this made a really great selection and we got to try nearly everything we wanted to from the menu. They also offer some larger plates, like burritos, steaks and salads, but I love the sharing aspect of the street food and nearly always go for this.
Some of my favourite dishes, which I highly recommend include: Plantain Tacos, Black Bean and Cheese Quesadillas and the Sweet Potato and Feta Tostadas. I also religiously order a side of Sweet Potato ‘chunks’ which are just the BEST. The great thing about Wahaca is they cater to all tastes, some dishes are quite spicy, others are on the mild side. Although I’m a spice fiend, my advice is to go mild, as there is always the Wahaca sauces on the tables if you wish to add more spice to your dish and then you can adjust each dish to your tastes as you go.
This is my happy face as we tucked into nearly TEN plates of Mexican food between the two of us.
Of course, as ten plates of food is obviously not enough (!) we just had to try the desserts too. We went for the classic option of Churros, which are served warm, sprinkled in sugar and cinnamon with a choice of warm chocolate or caramel dip. We also tried the Honeycomb Chocolate bites, which were a bit like rich gooey tiffins, topped with crushed peanuts. Both desserts were small portions but just right to round the meal off nicely.
Overall, I absolutely loved our Brighton Wahaca experience, it’s just as good, if not even better than some of the London restaurants I’ve been to. The food was spot on, the staff were fun, friendly and really knowledgeable about the food. I would encourage anyone with any food intolerances or allergies to try Wahaca as they really do look after you.
They have certainly paid a huge amount of detail to the decoration and creating the right atmosphere. Like all of the Wahaca restaurants, it’s loud and you feel like you have to shout, but I think that is what it’s all about. Wahaca probably isn’t somewhere I’d probably go for a romantic date night, but a fun place to go with friends or to grab food before a show.
The only minor negative I have to say about the whole thing is that I’ve been to the Brighton restaurant three times since the opening and every time the toilets have been filthy, some with broken loo seats already. Every time I’ve been the place has been fully booked, so I think it’s just super busy but still, they need to be ready for that as it’s a popular place and maybe a little more aware of the situation in the bathrooms!
A big THANK YOU to Thomasina and the Wahaca team for having me at the opening – I will be seeing you lots and lots and lots, I am sure!
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