Tuesday, October 20

Wahaca

- October 13, 2020

Lockdown highs and lows, and no doubt more changes to come but after months of very enjoyable home cooking the chance to dine out came as a very welcome relief. I am well know for not liking low grade ethnic foods of all kinds, indifferent Indian, cheap Chinese, inconsequential Italian and faux French all offend and there is plenty of that about. But the one that galls me almost the most is mediocre Mexican. Okay I know that for decades the ubiquitous chilli con carne has blighted the Mexican culinary scene and apparently it is no more Mexican than I am a southerner. But in recent years a few places have taken up the challenge of presenting authentic dishes from “South of the Border” (down Mexico way).

Up there has to be Master Chef winner Thomasina Myers whose phonetically presented Oaxaca has strived to alter all that. I was joined once again by the ubiquitous Mr L after many months of isolation. We started our evening with a couple of bracing classic margaritas, just the job on a windy and wet autumn evening – and they were very good indeed, feisty and generous.

The menu is revised for these times, maybe shorter, and that is a good thing, too much choice can be tough although sharing dishes in this way is a good way of satisfying many people, not that this is much of a problem with Mr L and me, he has only one real hate, offal, and my dislike of pineapple is seldom and issue.

I have a very secret vice too, I love nachos, a truly messy dish that I simply love, so we started with a plate of that whilst we caught up on gossip and made our choices. I have to say that they were good nachos too, crunch and spice and soothing sauces – we cleared the plate.

Service was impeccable, sensibly distanced but totally charming and after the nachos had gone, and the cocktails, we order a bottle of house red and made our food choices.

We loved the flour tortillas, one filled with crisp fried buttermilk chicken with sharp pickled red onion and a spicy mayo, and the sustainable fish version was pretty impressive too. Cheese and chilli croquetas were deliciously creamy and the chilli was a flavour as opposed to fire which worked so well. The spicy cauliflower bites were equally delicious and very generous too. Who remembers the days when cauliflower was simply boiled and sometimes baked in a cheese sauce? Now it rears its heads in so many ways, and that in my view is a very good thing.

Crab, I love it, despite it triggering my gout, but how often are we disappointed by the measly portions that it can be served in. Well the crisp tostadas came topped with generous mounds of shellfish in a great creamy sauce and once again the pink pickled onions. I love a pickled onion. Anyway, we both thought this was almost the best dish we had chosen, almost.

The best dish, and this might come as a surprise, was a vegetarian dish based on roasted heritage carrots. It was amazing, rich and satisfying with a strange but delightful herbal, or was it floral edge, a hint of the medicinal but in a fascinatingly attractive way. We discussed it at length but in the end declared it an unexpected delight.

To finish we shared some churros with dulce de leche , nice and crisp and certainly after our feast enough for two. The sauce was delicious, perhaps a little thin as it did not cling to the crisp

beignet, but the flavour was there and we were saved from a calorific overload.

Tasty food, great service and such a treat to be out on the town. Hats off to Tommy and her team.

160-161 North Street

Brighton

BN1 1EZ

01273 934763

wahaca.co.uk


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