New Spring menu at Wahaca

Unless you’ve been living under a rock on a desert island you’re bound to have heard of Wahaca. The Mexican restaurant chain is the brainchild of Masterchef winner Thomasina Miers and in my opinion, one of the best chain restaurants around. I was so excited when one opened in Cardiff, as part of the St David’s 2 development a few years ago. I’ve been to this branch a few times and various other branches in London (with and without kids) and I’ve honestly never had a bad meal there. So when I was invited to try the new spring menu at Wahaca, I jumped at the chance!

We were starving when we sat down so ordered some tortillas with guacamole to eat (£4.45) while we perused the menu. The kids were with a babysitter so I also went wild (!) and ordered a classic margarita cocktail (£6.95). Wahaca does the best margarita in Cardiff. Believe me, I’ve tried a few.

Street food is what Wahaca does best – think Mexican tapas. I love it because you get to try loads of different things. Perfect if you’re a greedy guts like me. The Spring specials and new additions to the menu looked awesome and I was delighted to see that one of my favourite large dishes, the fish tacos, are now available in a smaller street food portion. 

In the end we went for; the new cactus and courgette tacos (£4.10) (these were amazing), the chorizo and cheese taco special (£5.50), summer pea and mint empanadas (£4.25), cod baja tacos (£5.50), chilli quesadillas (£3.95), crab and shrimp taquitos (£4.95) and a side of grilled summer corn (£3.95). Yes it was enough food to feed an army. Yes we ate it all. 

The cactus and courgette tacos and corn on the cob side were probably my favourite dishes, but it was all amazing and I’d eat any of it again. My mouth is actually watering writing about it. I couldn’t manage dessert, but a couple of good coffees and a square of chilli chocolate did the trick.

I love the atmosphere at Wahaca too – it’s the kind of place you can take kids or have a meal and a few drinks with friends. While we were there James Dean Bradfield, from the Manic Street Preachers came in for lunch and sat on the table next to us. If you’re interested he had a tortilla bowl salad. He seemed to enjoy it…..

We were invited to try the food at Wahaca for free, in exchange for an honest review.

Review – Wahaca arrives in Cardiff

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).

The interior of Wahaca, Cardiff
The interior of Wahaca, Cardiff

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.

Street food at Wahaca, Cardiff
Street food at Wahaca, Cardiff

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!

Plantain fritters at Wahaca, Cardiff
Plantain fritters at Wahaca, Cardiff

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!

Wahaca Cardiff
51-53 The Hayes
St David’s

Cardiff CF10 1GA

029 2167 0414
Our meal at Wahaca was complimentary