When I was asked to attend the lovely Wahaca in Brighton to sample the winter menu for BN1 Magazine, I was hesitant, saying it had been a while since I had ventured to a restaurant. When I was told it was on BN1 and I could eat as much as I like, I was there quicker than you can say “Hola”.
So off I trotted to the restaurant on the corner of New Road and North Street. My date and I (this wasn’t a date, but it felt like it) were given a warm welcome on entry by Nuna (the manager) and went through the necessary covid-safety procedure. The restaurant itself has a very relaxed atmosphere awash with mexican inspired colours, dim lighting and plenty of space between tables.
I’m a vegan. You may have heard. If you haven’t, I will mention next time I see you. You know how we are. Being a vegan can have its restrictions but not so in Wahaca. We have our very own menu, so there. And there was so much to choose from. What I love about this restaurant is the variety and the style of dishes. Whether you’re a meat eater or a veggie or vegan, the street food section of the menu is a perfect opportunity to try lots of different dishes and still leave room for a main and desert if you want to roll home afterwards. And I’m in the mood for a roll tonight.
Wahaca have used the time off from lockdown to come up with new recipes and a new menu and it’s all knock out. There wasn’t one dish my friend and I were disappointed with. We kicked off with a drink (a huge selection, including cocktails and mocktails) and the classic tortilla chips with fresh tomato salsa dip from the ‘nibbles menu’ just to get the appetite going, whilst gazing an eye over a vast and mouth-watering menu.
We both hit the street food with a vegan order of roast garden veg tacos, which was one of my highlights. It is new to the vegan menu and it’s a mix of organic carrot, caramelised onion, herb mole (not the animal obvs, I hope) all topped off with beetroot crisps. This was so good, I ordered it again. I followed this up with grilled mushroom tacos, which was a deliciously meaty (controversial vegan view) dish, with a sweet aftertaste.
My meat-eating friend was equally impressed with the pork pibil, cooked in citrus and spices, with pink pickled onions and he also went for the mushroom dish, with a sprinkling of feta. Another highlight of the evening was the plantain tacos, with black beans, house slaw and a sweet and spicy chipotle salsa.
From the ‘bigger plates’ menu, I went for the sweet potato burrito, with black beans, dressed slaw and green rice. The sweet potato was bought to life by a coating of mojo de ajo, which is basically a garlic gravy. My friend (I’m no idea how we are still friends, with the amount of meat he’s consuming) went for the slow-cooked beef brisket, which again, was taken up a few notches, I’m reliably informed, by the added smoked spices.
What I love about this restaurant, is how you can go back and forth on the menu and dip your toes back in to the street food if you’re feeling there’s a little corner to fill in the pit of your stomach. And so, we did. Our stomach’s have big corners. I went for the bean tostadas, which was a gorgeous mix of peas, borlotti beans and chickpeas with a fresh tomato salsa. Another new addition to the menu and it was a welcome one. My friend also went back to the street food and plumped for the buttermilk chicken, which is served crispy fried and got the thumbs up from a man looking like he was about to eat himself to death.
To be honest, we were both close to an over-eating related death at this point. I felt like late Elvis. But there was desert to come. In my eyes, it’s illegal to leave a restaurant without having a pudd. And I’ve had the vegan pudd here before. I know what’s coming. Churros. As a vegan, churro’s is a rare delight. But they do them so well at Wahaca. Served with a hot chocolate sauce, it is the perfect end to a feast I never thought was going to end. My friend went for the chocolate and pecan brownie and was equally both impressed and done for the evening. It was time for a roll home.
Wahacca doesn’t just make great food, it makes food fun again and there’s so much variety, you would think you would hit a dud, sooner or later. But we honestly didn’t. Every dish was a delight and I know I’ll never leave this restaurant disappointed. Great for friends, couples and families, Wahaca is highly recommended.
I’m vegan, by the way. Just so you know.