As a family, we are creatures of habit. We love our food, and we can be quite adventurous but, on the whole, we tend to stick to what we know. Eating out can be an expensive treat, especially when times are tough (during Covid), so the thought of shelling out hard-earned cash right now for a meal out for three takes a little planning. Can we afford to get it wrong? Probably not, but sometimes it’s worth the risk. And, from our recent experience, Wahaca is a risk worth taking.
I guessed I would love the offering at Wahaca as I love my spicy food. Mark and Jack on the other hand, not so much. On a rainy Friday afternoon in a normally buzzing part of the city, we passed Wahaca, gave it a look, gave each other a look, and thought what the hell.
Once we had navigated the usual Covid guidance of handwashing and sanitising, the NHS QR Track and Trace Code and the obligatory mask wearing until we had reached our seats, we felt completely relaxed. Wahaca has that kind of vibe.
According to our lovely waitress, Denisa, the place is usually rammed with customers – families with small children, couples, and singletons alike. The menus are on the table – drinks side up. Their big on their cocktails here with Tequila taking the lead. Beer, cider, and wines are also available but when the cocktails are this good, it would be rude not to go for one, or two or, if you’re not driving, you could push to three. We were driving, so one of us drew the designateed driver short straw.
As we hadn’t tried Mexican street food before, we asked Denisa if she could bring us a selection of the most popular choices. She revelled in the opportunity of the task, firstly asking if we had any allergies and then asking if we had a preference for meat, fish, or veggie.
She said that everything was cooked to order so it might take some time but, as we were in lockdown mode, luckily for us the food arrived quite quickly.
Denisa chose well, from the Tacos Street Food section of the menu which suggests two or three dishes per person. Out came a selection of tacos and tortillas (soft corn tortillas, grilled and filled) with pulled pork, chargrilled steak and cheeses and buttermilk chicken. Then came quesadillas (flour tortillas, filled, folded and toasted) with Trealy farm chorizo and platitos (small plates inspired by the market) of sweet potato and feta taquito, cheese and chili croquetas, crispy cauliflower bites and Devon crab and avocado tostades.
Piping hot, flavoursome, and moreish. I could rave on about the different flavours and spices, but those four words sum up all that need to be said.
This was much more food than we could eat in one sitting but Denisa was quick to bring us some takeaway boxes (perfectly formed to take each folded tacos/tortillas).
Yes, we were full to the brim, but the dessert section of the menu was calling to Mark and Jack. Churros with chocolate dipping sauce (we hear you) and chocolate and pecan brownie (resistance is futile). I must admit to breaking my no sugar rule and trying a couple of spoonfuls of the brownie. It was well worth the slip.
A couple of coffees rounded off a fab meal. Even the little squares of chocolates accompanying the coffee had a hint of spice!
We must give a shout out to the music playing. A big bug bear of ours is when the wrong music is being played, particularly if you’re in a themed restaurant. The playlist here was spot on. Each track had the Mexican vibe going on. You know, the kind that makes you want to get up and throw some salsa moves. We didn’t though. It would have felt wrong! Another time.
We loved everything about Wahaca and would definitely go again, either to the Cardiff branch or on our travels around the country. Pop over to their website at www.wahaca.co.uk and check out where they have other outlets.
If you are in lockdown and can’t get to a Wahaca near you then fear not, they are now offering a delivery service from certain branches. Again, the website will tell you which ones are able to offer this service. Cardiff is on the list you’ll be delighted to hear. Click here to order deliveroo.co.uk.
Another thing to mention before I sign off. The décor. Very urban and funky. We liked that. Also, as Denisa pointed out, Wahaca are the first carbon neutral restaurant group. They obviously walk the talk and their slogan “Your Meal Won’t Cost the Earth” isn’t just them paying lip service. If you’re interested in this kind of thing, which we are, then check out this link on their website. It’ll tell you more about their philosophy.
If you haven’t tried Wahaca yet, go on, it’ll be worth the risk!
51-53 The Hayes
Cardiff CF10 1GA
029 2167 0414
You’ll find Wahaca on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and You Tube
Photography copyright and courtesy of Mark Roberts.
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