Mexican Food In London

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.

14 thoughts on “Mexican Food In London

  1. We went to Jamie’s Italian and that idea of a food factory was the feeling I got there. Okay, that sentence is really badly written but I am too Mondayed out to correct it. Anyway, i don’t beleive you about Lupita. You’ll have to arrange a blogger’s day out there or something!

    Like

  2. We actually walked past Jamies Italian during our last visit and even from the outside it didn’t look terribly inspiring. As for Lupita…the proof is usually in the pudding. But Mexican food really isn’t about puddings, so we’ll have to find the proof elsewhere in the menu!

    Me and Mrs P have a trip up town booked for February 4th, a Saturday, and I do plan to treat myself to a chicharon de queso at Lupitas. If you fancy meeting up over a taco or two, give me a shout!

    Like

        1. Stephen bought us 2pm tickets for the Doctor Who Experience at the Olympia! That is our only deadline so far (but I did have a maybe plan in the morning that doesn’t look like it is panning out anyway).

          Like

        2. I knew I hadn’t caught up on all my messages! Anyway, give me another day to work it out! I’ll try and send a message on Facebook if you’re still up for meeting for a bite to eat.

          Like

  3. Gary,

    I’m so sad you had such a terrible time. The guy in the video you posted above is a Mexican guy who has been with us for four years, he has literally just left to get some more experience elsewhere. Arturo, our sous chef at Soho, has been with us for 5 years now and Miguel and Luis almost 4 years each. All are chefs with us. Edson and Leo are head chefs at Covent Garden and Canary Wharf and whilst being amazing, amazing chefs, don’t know enough about Mexican food for our liking which is why they are flying out with us to Mexico next Wednesday for a week of cooking and eating Mexican food in Mexico City, Oaxaca City and the coast.

    To say we don’t care about our food is a terrible thing because in fact we care so much. I ate in three of our sites last week, a regular job I do to make sure that our cochinita pibil is just right, that our pasilla salsa hits the mark, that our skirt steak tacos are not overcooked or undercooked. Our guacamole seems to be the most popular in London and all our cocktails are made with 100% agave tequila and fresh lime juice which we squeeze every morning.

    I am horrified that you’ve had such a bad experience. Would you please come back on us and try us again? I’d even join you except I am leaving tomorrow ahead of the team (we are taking 12 in total for full Mexican immersion) to do research for new menus and make sure we can’t slip some new sassy recipes on the menu.

    Please do get back to me, thomasina@wahaca.co.uk. I may take a few days to respond as am travelling, but I would love you to come back to re-consider your opinion of us.

    Thank you so much,

    tommi xxx

    Like

  4. Thank goodness Chicago has Rick Bayless for our wonderful Mexican food. His restaurants; Frontera grill for more reasonably priced fare and Topolobampo for finer dining. He has also raised the quality of Tortas for lunch. Chicago has a large Hispanic population and there are many quality Mexican restaurants that have good food.
    I just returned from Puerto Vallartta and found it hard to find many Mexican food places in town, a lot of Italian. The Mexicans seem to have the Italian fare down and do it very well. My favorite is how they do the Red Snapper right out of the ocean.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s