A couple of years ago, Kerry and Nicki visited Wahaca. Their only sadness was that they’d run out of the cricket brownie. Wahaca have a new menu and it was time for us to revisit. This time, Kerry and I went. It was a brilliantly sunny day, one of those that make me think of fish and salad. Could Wahaca offer something suitably summer-light?
Wahaca’s Edinburgh restaurant is large, like most of the restaurants around the St Andrew’s Square. This evening, the downstairs was busy but the upstairs hadn’t filled up when we arrived at seven. The space is bright and cheerful with colourful wall art, calmed by dark wooden floors. We sat at a table with a view of both the world outside and the dining room so I could see that the upstairs too made brisk business over the evening. Families, groups and couples came and went. Wahaca is relaxed, it’s a place to take it easy, not one where you should be in a hurry.
We were in for the summer menu. Sometimes there’s an element of negotiation about who eats what when foodies review together. Kerry and I match each other pretty well: I want all the fish and she doesn’t. We perused the menu while nibbling on Mexico City nachos. In Mexico City, we now know, they don’t like to overload their nachos. We both like to pick and mix from the street food – tacos, tostadas, quesadillas – and decided to start with two and then order more if we were still hungry.
I ordered the pea and feta tostada and chorizo empanadas, Kerry went for the pibil quesadilla, buttermilk chicken Baja tacos and a side of grilled tenderstem broccoli.
The broccoli was knocked off the spot as my favourite dish of the night by the pea, mint and ricotta tostada. The tostada was a crispy blue corn tortilla loaded with smashed peas, mint and creamy ricotta. It was refreshing and summery. I enjoyed the textures and flavours. The chorizo empanadas were fun: crispy fried pastries stuffed with chorizo and served with new potatoes. My first empanada! Turns out, I’ve lived with a vegetarian for long enough to prefer veg. (Honestly, that broccoli was yum!)
Kerry loves buttermilk chicken and enjoyed the taco version. She also enjoyed the pibil quesadillas: a soft wheat tortilla stuffed full of pulled pork and melted cheese. A word of warning: you need lots of napkins to wipe the pibil juices off your face when eating this. It’s as tasty and satisfying as only meat and cheese can be but also properly messy.
Going for a second round
Having decided that, actually, there was room in our bellies still, I ordered the cod tacos and Kerry decided to try one of the new Mexican bowls. The bowl is a great idea. Green rice, black beans, slaw and extras (grilled chicken or corn and broccoli) in a bowl: a complete meal in one. To me, it’s the perfect size for lunch of a light supper.
Wahaca keeps the sweet menu simple: churros, orange and chocolate brownie and a selection of ice creams. I had a tequila hot chocolate (very much in spirit of a ‘dessert cocktail’) and Kerry had the salted caramel ice cream. Little things, that could fit around the mains.
It’s fair to say we were stuffed when we left. The night was stiff balmy so both of us opted to walk home. We take reviewing seriously so sometimes an post-prandial walk is necessary. The pea, mint and ricotta tostada was the night’s hero dish, we were both fans. The Mexican bowl also made us sit up and take notice because it was such a great-tasting and simple idea. If you like Mexican, Wahaca has something new and interesting for you this summer.
South St Andrew Street
Telephone: 01312 026850
Caroline and Kerry were invited to dine by Wahaca.