Back in October, at an event organised by TikiChris for Qype, we spent a very enjoyable evening at the Wahaca site in Westfield, tasting their winter menu and being persuaded of the delights of reposado and añejo tequilas. Tommi and Mark were keen that we gave them honest feedback that evening and impressively, we subsequently found out that they implemented suggestions the next day. I guess it’s true to say that drink talks: we may have been more vocal than they might have expected on one particular topic. The burrito. Or Cabbagegate as the redtops would probably dub it.
Wahaca’s strength is cooking authentic street food. The only dish I wasn’t wild about that night was the Vera cruz fish – Because European influence is strong in that region and though by itself it’s a delicious and healthy option from the menu, I wanted Mexican that night. Not European and certainly not Tex-Mex.
That’s the problem with burritos. As Tommi explained this weekend at their newest branch in Canary Wharf (my Londonist review here), in Mexico a burrito is a dense parcel of meat, rice and beans that’s designed to be taken out to the fields: robust enough to survive the journey and fuel a day’s labours. What most of us know and love as a burrito is more of a Californian creation – lashings of cheese, guacamole and piquant sauces. From March, Wahaca will be offering burritos in their new takeaway service and they’re determined to get them right from the outset. They’re staying as true to their ‘real Mexican’ ethos as possible while making them suitable for takeout and perfecting the flavours and combinations.
One of the biggest issues that the menu tasters had back in October was the presence of that one particular ingredient. I’m not necessarily a massive fan of cabbage at the best of times and it overpowered the vegetable burrito. Um, yes, it may have been me who mentioned the word ‘Sauerkraut’ and the burrito aficionados weren’t having any of it. Apparently one of the immediate changes to the Wahaca menu was a noticable reduction in the pickling vinegar.
Favourites on Sunday included chargrilled steak and slow cooked pork – surprisingly, with a complete absence of cabbage, or at least that’s what it tasted like. The vegetable burrito oozes juicy mushrooms – I’m just too much of a carnivore to ever order it voluntarily. Tommi isn’t threatening anyone with that knife, rather she was listening intently to the verdict on the custom burritos that she created. Oddly enough, the clear winner for us did feature cabbage. Hell, what do we know?
Keep an eye on their blog for details of when they’ll launch. It’s going to be good. Tasty, filling reasonably priced fresh food. Can’t go wrong, really.