Oh Wahaca, you tricky devil you.
This one is all about expectations and consistency... had I reviewed this on my first couple of visits no way would I have given more than three stars... as it stands, I'm leaning to at least a 3.5 so rounding rules lead me to a 4.
A couple of years ago I heard about this amazing Mexican pseudo chain that I had to try in London... being from the southern part of the US I was intrigued so of course made my way over at first opportunity... it... was... a... disaster. The margaritas were small, had agave syrup in them (I know it's hip, but no... just no"), and just uneventful. The raved about pork pibbles (or whatever they are called) lacked any outstanding flavour, and honestly I can't remember anything having that great of an impact. I certainly didn't hate the place, but didn't get the fuss either.
Luckily due to various reasons and different groups of people I've been back on a few occasions and with adjusted expectations have tried various things.
The first thing is this is not a place for mains... while I've had a few that were nice, they were nice on occasion... some people have mentioned consistency as a plus for Wahaca, but I must be the unluckiest guy in the world if that's the case... because, you know, inconsistent food must be the worst thing that can happen to someone. Moving on, it's too much of an investment to commit to a larger dish here when the results can be hit or miss.
The same goes for the street feed, for me at least, but at lower prices and lower belly room commitment it's less of an issue... sometimes a small dish, such as the MSC Herring Tostadas, is top notch while at other times it's miles away from the last visit. Same for the guacamole, etc., I just haven't found the consistency.
And again, one of the beers Michelada style (with spices, Tabasco, and lime juice) can soooo rock my world, but at other times they're just off... never actually bad, but far from their former glory.
The inconsistency is particularly curious because none of the dishes are that complicated.
Where I've learned to elevate my previous rating is the way I view Wahaca now... it's not really somewhere I go for a meal, but rather pop in for a different type of snack if a pending meal is on the cards for later, I'm a bit peckish, etc. With this in mind, dropping by for two small plates (or a small plate and a side) coupled with a Michelada style beer for under £12 is a win no matter how I spin it.
The other thing that helps elevate Wahaca is the style... it may not be to everyone's taste, but I like the quirkiness of it, especially this location with their hanging signed lanterns near the Olympic Park... it's colourful and a bit fun. Oh, and the chilli seeds with each bill always brings a smile. :) Side note, they also get points for sourcing from the UK where possible, as well as supporting sustainable fishing practices.
Don't get me wrong, I know many people who love this place so it's worth a try... just know that it's not exactly Mexican, and to it's credit I think it's pitched as more of a Mexican/British fusion, and that it can be a bit hit or miss. When it works, it really works though... I won't be rushing here for a proper meal anytime soon, but my last quick bite order of Herring Tostadas, Fried Sweet Potato Chunks, and an extra spicy Modelo Especial Michelada (all for just over £11) is definitely calling for another go.
If you LOVE traditional Mexican food: **
If you're looking for something a bit different, but not too fussed on it being actual Mexican food: ***
If you can adjust your expectations, put up with a little inconsistency, and make it work for you: ****, just barely.
Drinks were amazing! Try their mojito and margairta.
It's been a while since I was here and I only remember good things. I loved the ambiance, it was very modern and creative. Not very warm, but cool and unique. There were multiple areas of seating and different types of tables and booths.
The food is served in small portions and which allows you to order different dishes and as much as you want. I loved the idea, and will definitely go back if I'm in Stratford!
This is third location of Wahaca I've visited, and they are consistent with taste, atmosphere and service, and the only place in London I can get my preferred street-style Mexican food. I nearly always get the tacos but went back to a favorite I ruled out because you just never know how seriously to take that spicy food chile icon warning: the slow roasted pork burrito with habenero chiles.
However both times i've had it was fine, and i'm on the wussier side of spicy food enjoyment. But the spice factor aside, I've come to the conclusion that they're just better at tacos. If it's fresh, fatty burritos you're after, head to Chipotle, they do a stellar job that just can't be beaten.
I always love a trip to Wahaca and this one didn't disappoint! So if you are brave enough to go to Westfield Stratford on a weekend day - or any day in fact - you are most likely going to need to sit down at then end of it and this is probably the best place to rest your feet and fill your belly. And of course Tequila is encouraged and that gets an extra star from me!
I had dinner here on the 22nd of Nov 2012. I ordered a beef steak main. It was accompanied with rice, green rice and a tortilla bread thing. Food was ok. Steak was cooked ok and my salsa had a kick. The tortilla thingi was so rubbery, it took me back to my "chew-everything" toddler years and the taste of Royal Mail rubber band.
Service was very good. No complaints at all about this.
Will I go back? No
Why? It was just meh...
Is this representative of Mexican food? Gosh no.
Nice place to eat. I dont really like any of the mains, its all about the Street Food i.e Tacos, Taquitos and Quesadillas.
I highly recommend the Pork Tacos.
I went to Wahaca for a birthday celebration in a party of 5 and I have only one complaint they forgot my order! That apart (and they apologised profusely and got me my order in double quick time) the food was good and the drinks good and I liked the decor and the vibe which seemed a little better than the rest of the eating places in the mall.
Highlights of the meal were a really good Pork Pibl with plenty of flavour and reasonable heat and the bizarrely tasting grapefruit cocktail which really grows on you.
I think you may have to be in the mood for Wahaca and it certainly is a place that responds to a positive party orientated mood but I wouldn't avoid it even if I was excessively chilled!
Terrible service. Not sure if he was just being racist or just plain rude, but our waiter was just the worst. This place is suppose to be authentic Mexican food. But overall it tasted like overpriced Taco Bell. I did not like it one bit. Mexican food is just not done correctly in London. Bad service. Bad food. Don't come here.
Ate here after watching some of the Olympic Games. Good, but small Margaritas. Tacos were very good, better than I had expected. The servers were average, most of them being foreign to the UK did not help as at times it was tough to order.
Ate here with our two kids, two friends and their two kids. Food was lovely, very fresh and tasty but not too hot. Service was very good with waitress very attentive to needs of the children. Will definitely come again.
Having been to other Wahaca's notably the excellent Covent Garden one, I had slightly raised expectations.
While I can't quibble with the quality, price and presentation of the food, There was something intangible I felt that detracted from my experience.
The service was attentive, possibly a little overattentive, and I felt very much like I was in a restaurants working out the kinks (having only recently opened).
I was also not particularly impressed by the decor, and the passing nod to the Olympics.
However, the food itself is good there is a nice balance of fish/meat and vegetarian options. The prices are also good, especially on the street food options rather than the larger items, which I didn't have on this occasion.
I ordered 3 small dishes, a side dish of frijoles and a beer and my bill came to under £20. So you definitely get very reasonable value for money. It's also great for sharing as you can get a wide variety of small plates and grab a little from each of the platters.
I will not be discouraging anyone from going, I'd just say give them a little time to get the details right, but if you are in Westfield looking for a decent food option, I think you won't go to far wrong paying a visit here.
I went to this restaurant yesterday with a friend and it was a huge disappointment. I Love mexican food but this was my first and last visit to this place. The food was quite frankly not good, it was poorly seasoned and the portion sizes were a joke. I don't normally mention this in reviews but as a female going to their toilets it was an unsettling experience. I felt very unsafe. The male and female toilets share the same washing up facilities and because there is no barrier between the cubicle doors and the shared washing space outside, you could be potentially be in a unsafe situation as someone could easily pounce on you. My advice is don't go their toilets on your own or send your child alone. It does not feel safe. On a better note, the waiter was very good, its just a pity the food wasn't.
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