“Delicious new dishes, and a celebration of the dearly-departed”
Although the long, freezing winter nights and the crisp winter days tend to inspire harsh feelings among the people who endure them, not all see winter as a bleak and lifeless season. Even though winter is the coldest season there is just something warm about it to me. 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.
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. Even if you have not had the pleasure of eating in Wahaca you would surely have heard of the Mexican Street food behemoth that has taken the country by storm since celebrity chef Thomasina Miers opened her first restaurant back in 2006, just a year after she shot to stardom winning BBC’s Masterchef program. The substantial chain has been one of the biggest successes of the shows winners, and you cannot miss Brighton’s very own Wahaca restaurant, which has been towering over North Street since 2016.
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. 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. Some of the staff are even dressed up as people would in Mexico, complete with skull makeup and hoods draped in flowers. There 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 Tipsy Catrina’s. A special 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 pink plume and delicate l flowers floating in the glass, it tastes deliciously fruity and slips down so easily we immediately order two more. Botanical notes bringing to mind the colourful floral headpieces and decorations seen throughout Mexico at this time of year.
We begin with a new addition to the menu for the Winter season, organic squash and crumbled feta tostadas, inspired by the street food tasted by Thomasina in Ensenada on Mexico’s Pacific coast. Tender Riverford Organic squash is topped with a green cashew nut mole, pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds and feta. They taste sublime. The seeds and Feta highlight the hearty flavour of the squash. This wonderful seasonal dish is moreish to say the least.
Next to arrive Sustainable battered fish tacos come next. 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!
Another new addition comes next. Lamb birria tacos- a tasty twist on a popular street food dish from Jalisco in western Mexico. Slow cooking was certainly evident as the lamb melted away releasing the meats full flavour which went perfectly with the rich, intensely flavoured, and colourful consomme that accompanies the tacos, seasoned with red onion, fresh lime and a sprinkle of coriander, great for dunking, but we just poured it all over the tacos and it really hit all the right notes.
I pimped up my chargrilled steak 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 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. Our side of sweet potato bravas were lovely and crisp on the outside and fluffy in the middle, the accompanying serrano allioli and smoky hibiscus dip worked well together in this innovative take on the classic tapa.
Feeling rather sozzled after our third Tipsy Catrina, I was ready assert there would be absolutely no way we would be able to find room for dessert, however my companion insisted on trying Wahaca’s newest sweet addition to their winter menu. Margarita pie. Buttery biscuit base decadently topped with a zingy lime curd and softly-whipped tequila-infused cream, and adorned with edible flowers. It is like a cocktail in dessert form, so much going on with flavours, textures, and aesthetics. Every bite was an adventure. A great way to finish off a magnificent lunch.
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. Each dish we tried from the incredibly well thought out menu had very distinct flavours and the love and passion that goes into the creating the food is evident throughout.The newest additions to the menu are absolutely delicious. So why not treat yourself to a colourful, delicious celebration to get you through the colder months? We will be certainly be returning for more.