“Delicious new dishes, two new seasonal specials, and a celebration of the dearly-departed”
You may have noticed we have had a rather mild Autumn here in Brighton to say the least. It is nearly November and I am still dressed in shorts and T-Shirt when we head down to our favourite Mexican Eatery. Saying that, Winter is just around the corner, and I find that during the coldest season the best memories are made and everyone shares a lot of laughter and love during it. This is something that the team behind Wahaca also obviously appreciate. There is plenty of vibrant Mexican excitement to cut through the darkness going on. From the annual Day of the Dead festivities to a new seasonal menu, specials and cocktails to enjoy. We could not resist popping in to our go to Mexican eatery to see what exciting new delights they have come up with.
Arriving for lunch we are shown to our regular table by the huge window looking out on to the bustling North Street. The annual El Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations are in full swing. As soon as we walked in the door we were greeted by some extra-special, skeletal guests! Specially-created calacas – skeleton figurines that are traditionally displayed across Mexico during the annual fiesta that have been hand-crafted for Wahaca by talented Mexican artisans from Oaxaca, and are designed to evoke joyous memories of our deceased relatives and friends. The restaurant is decked out in traditional papel picado and specially-created altars reflecting the traditional ofrendas set up each year in homes across Mexico to honour loved ones that have passed away. The somewhat lively atmosphere of the restaurant that we have come to love is even more pulsing than usual and we settle into it by ordering a couple of Marmalade Mezcalita’s. A speciality new cocktail created especially to raise a glass to those no longer with us. The cocktail not only looks absolutely beautiful, with a lovely bright orange plume and delicate flowers floating in the glass, it tastes deliciously sweet and smoky with a sophisticated spiciness. They slip down so easily we immediately order two more at the same time as ordering our food, and by the time we finish our second one the potent mezcal cocktails really begin to take affect.
Wahaca Mexican Street Food never fails to impress, especially during their vibrant Day of the Dead celebrations. The menu, featuring nibbles, street food dishes, and larger plates, is perfect for sharing and offers a wide variety of options to choose from. In typical Wahaca fashion the plates of food arrive as and when they are ready.
One of their standout dishes was the Day of the Dead special: Four Cheese and Jalapeno Empenadas, a delightful twist on a deep-fried street food favourite. Filled with a heavenly combination of British Halloumi, Mozzarella, Monteray Jack, and Feta. They were wonderfully indulgent, bursting with flavour, and had quite a kick which certainly left an impression!
Next to be dished up were the taco’s we ordered. The Ancho Mushroom Taco was a winner, with its Jalapeno mayo, beetroot crisps, and dressed slaw perfectly complementing the earthy mushroom filling. The Sustainable Battered Fish Tacos, crunchy shells stuffed with crispy battered haddock fingers, topped with zesty shredded slaw and a punchy chipotle sauce drizzled over the top, which somehow heightened the delicate flavour of the sweet white fish without overpowering. Lovely!
The Allioli Mushroom Club Quesadillas were a taste sensation, with melted cheese, lettuce, and jalapeno mayo creating a delightful combination. As were the Devon Crab Tostadas, Crunchy tortillas layered with slices of creamy avocado and topped with zesty crab and a punchy chipotle sauce drizzled over the top, which somehow heightened the delicate flavour of the crab without overpowering.
For a heartier option, the Slow Cooked Beef Burrito was exceptional. I pimped up my burrito to “ultimate” so it was topped with a rich tomato sauce, melted cheese and fresh guacamole, and it is a decision I will certainly not live to regret. I love Wahaca Burritos, they are stuffed so full of tender meat, black beans, green rice salsas, and slaw to the point it is a mystery how they are still able to still roll them. They are so unbelievably tasty as they come. The sauce, melty cheese and guacamole really added a whole other level though. Very naughty indeed! Our side of sweet potato bravas were lovely and crisp on the outside and fluffy in the middle, the accompanying jalapeno allioli and smoky hibiscus dip worked well together in this innovative take on the classic tapa.
To end the meal on a sweet note, we indulged in their new Ice Cream Sundae. With layers of chocolate, salted caramel, and vanilla ice cream, along with chocolate sauce, dulce de leche, brownie, and honeycomb chunks, it was a decadent treat that left us craving for more, despite being full to the brim!
We are Always impressed by the service and quality of food at Wahaca, not to mention their laudable commitment to sustainability, which is why we go back time and time again. Wahaca has incredible vegan and vegetarian options that are just as delightful as their meat-based dishes if not more so. The service is fun and friendly, and during the Day of the Dead celebrations, their enthusiasm shines through. October/November is my favourite time to visit, although Wahaca is a fantastic dining destination all year round.