A few months ago I included a bit about the Wahaca restaurant chain that had opened up in the UK with several branches around London. I gave it a reserved thumbs up. Reserved, because not everything on the menu was entirely authentic. Some of the stuff we ordered was a bit bleugh. But some was close to the mark. I described it as being easily the best Mexican food available in London. I should have qualified that a bit more. Perhaps I should have said that they are better that the competition, all of which are completely s%#t.
I have an update to post though. Paola recently went into the Covent Garden restaurant. It was worse that the Canary Wharf branch. Indeed, it was on a par with the competition. So completely s%#t. Except, Paola then went to one of the competitors. Lupita, near Charing Cross. How’s this for authenticity – Mexican staff. That was one of the obvious things missing from Wahaca that lead me to say that the place was devoid of the ‘Mexican experience’ there.
Paola liked the food, and she is fussy. It was pricey though. She brought me back a couple of tacos al pastor to sample. And yep, Lupita now ranks as my number one Mexican in London. I say this with great confidence, despite never having been there. Because those tacos were good. But again, one must bear in mind the standard of the competition. Completely s%#t.
One final word on Wahaca. We originally went there having seen a TV series starring Tomasina Miers (the founder of Wahaca) called Mexican Food Made Simple. She’s clearly passionate about cooking. She clearly knows about Mexican cooking. She’s a smart lady. She knows a taco from a turd alright.
So what went wrong? The same thing that has gone wrong with a big chunk of our economy if you ask me. Corporatism. Which is to capitalism what communism is to socialism. In my opinion. She’s sold out to corporatism. They’ve put the cash into her business, and want the maximum return, quick. Which means you end up with a product that appeals to the lowest common denominator, set at a high price that reflects how many people are pocketing the profits and not what the product really justifies.
It means you end up with bog standard National Minimum Wage-eque standards of service and the atmosphere of a factory. There’s no personal touch, not is there personality. That’s the exact opposite of how many restaurants work in Mexico. That’s the exact opposite of how many things work in Mexico. Tailoring, medical services, repair stores and many more. There’s more consistency in the corporate world. But little excellence.
Shame on you Tomasina. You could have made it big yourself. In a smaller way. In a more dignified way. Over a longer period of time. In a more soulful way. And Wahaca could have been great. But it’s not. Please don’t try and tell me otherwise. I had six years to learn tacos from turds, and you’ll not fool me. But I still like your TV shows and YouTube videos.