If you live in Cardiff and you’re at all interested in the food scene, the arrival of Wahaca can’t have escaped your notice. Before its grand unveiling the Wahaca food truck on the Hayes had queues around the block (great marketing idea) and when it finally opened, local businesses were given the opportunity to try the place for free, leading to a glut of excited Twitterers and Facebookers recommending the Brussels sprouts (more on those later).
Last week was the official opening and I was invited along to try Wahaca Cardiff for myself.
For those that don’t know, Wahaca is the brainchild of 2005 Masterchef winner Thomasina (Tommi) Miers. The first Wahaca opened in London in 2007, focusing on Mexican Street food, serving dishes with real Mexican tastes and spices – rather than the Tex Mex Americanised versions we’ve been used to seeing. (You won’t find nacho crisps coated in melted Monterey Jack here…)
My two excited friends, Niki and Kath and I were welcomed by our fantastic waiter Bruno, who was funny, attentive (but not overly so) and recommended we try the pure classic margarita cocktail, which he explained was a traditional strong margarita (not made with a sugary mix as so many often are) and one for die hard tequila fans. He was right and as the night wore on a few more definitely graced our table.
Bruno recommended some nachos with guacamole while we perused the menu (£3.95). The nachos were authentic deep fried tortillas and the guac was rustic and delicious.
The main menu is split into small street food dishes (sort of a Mexican tapas, where diners are recommended to order 2-3 dishes each) or larger plates.
The girls and I love trying a bit of everything so we ordered two street food dishes and a side dish each, and shared them all. Wow, they were all wonderful. Personal favourites included the slow-cooked pork pil bil tacos (£4.10), plantain tacos (£3.95), smoky sweet potato wedges (£3.10) and the roasted sprouts mole with almonds and feta. We were lucky enough to meet Tommi herself on the night, who told us the sprouts, with their chocolatey sauce and crumbly feta (believe me, it works) are the dish of the moment.
Desserts were also delicious. We shared the churros with chocolate sauce (£3.95) and the plantain fritters with ice cream and candied peanuts (£4.50). I say ‘shared’ but I definitely ate the bulk of the fritters!
The atmosphere was great as well, the place is really family friendly, we’ve eaten in a branch in London with our son who loved the food and the hustle and bustle. The night we are in the Cardiff branch, there was a friendly party atmosphere. There’s also a bar up on the third floor, if you want to continue the night.
If you’re looking for a fun night out with good food and excellent drinks – Wahaca is the place!
Cardiff CF10 1GA