Wahaca, Queens Road: Review

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The interior of the restaurant, taken from the back looking towards the front door - it's huge...

The interior of the restaurant, taken from the back looking towards the front door – it’s huge…

 

So, Wahaca Bristol is finally here – and it seems to be proving popular already! Located on the Clifton Triangle, the restaurant is the latest addition to the chain owned by former MasterChef winner Thomasina Miers, and opened its doors to the public on July 30th 2015.

It’s clear that a lot of time, effort and money have been invested in the interior, as you can see from the photos I took when I had a sneak pre-opening preview of the venue. On the night of our visit, the Mexican restaurant was buzzing, service was efficient and friendly, and the food (well, almost all of it) was delicious and well-priced.

We were shown to a table at the back of the restaurant with a great view of the open plan kitchen, and ordered tortilla chips and a beautifully fresh guacamole (£3.95) while we perused the menu. It was also a good opportunity to try out a few options from the drinks menu, including a cranberry-flavoured hibiscus cordial with a dash of lime (£1.75) and a white peach margarita (£6.95), which was delicate yet potent in its flavour.

The menu is divided into a variety of different sections, all displayed on a single page menu that is also used as your table mat. Nibbles, street food dishes, bigger dishes, sides and desserts are all available, as is a choice of two fixed sharing selections, making it easy for you to try out a range of dishes from the menu without needing to spend too long perusing the menu.

We opted to share the new Mexican Feast menu (£32.50 for two to share), featuring 2 salmon tostadas, 3 pork pibil tacos, a chipotle chicken quesadilla, 2 pea and mint empanadas, frijoles with chorizo, broccoli with green goddess dressing, grilled corn – and churros and chocolate for dessert. When ordering, we were told that all of the dishes would be brought over as soon as they were made and would arrive at different times – not an issue for us, as we did find that the table was a little small before empty serving dishes were cleared…

My favourite dish of the evening by far was the salmon tostadas: crispy and light corn tortillas topped with generous slices of raw salmon, a fantastic chipotle mayo and fresh avocado, and topped with crispy onions. While it wasn’t the most vibrant looking raw salmon we’d ever seen, the combination of the fresher flavours with the onions and smoky chilli was fantastic.

 

Wahaca Bristol - Salmon Tostadas

 

Moving from fresh to hearty, the frijoles with sobrasada were also a revelation – a world away from the refried beans you’ll find in most Tex Mex restaurants and with a beautiful depth of flavour.

 

Wahaca Bristol - Frijoles with Chorizo

 

The pea and mint empanadas are another new addition to the Wahaca menu, and one that I hope will stay. The pastry was perfectly flaky and crunchy, the filling with a true British summery flavour and plenty of texture.

 

Wahaca Bristol - Pea and Mint Empanadas

 

We loved the vibrant colours and fresh flavours of the griddled tenderstem broccoli, served with toasted sunflower seeds and Wahaca’s green goddess dressing. I’ve no idea of the exact recipe, but could certainly taste avocado, citrus flavours and garlic – it was absolutely beautiful.

 

Wahaca Bristol - Broccoli

 

The chipotle chicken quesadillas also impressed: a soft tortilla encasing shredded poached chicken in a smoky tomato sauce. While the melted mozzarella certainly held them together and made them easier to eat, it did detract a little from the Mexican flavours…

 

Wahaca Bristol - Chicken Quesadillas

 

I’d already tried Wahaca’s pork pibil tacos when they were giving out pre-opening freebies, and once again, I wasn’t disappointed. It was a little surprising to see three of the soft corn tortillas served in a menu for two, but never mind… The pork is slow cooked for several hours with a number of ingredients, including orange juice, chillies, allspice and achiote paste, giving it a robust flavour and a melt in the mouth consistency. The tacos are served topped with pungent pickled onion slices too…

 

Wahaca Bristol - Pork Pibil Tacos

 

Our final savoury dish was the grilled corn on the cob: perfectly succulent and drizzled with a potent mojo de ajo (garlic sauce), more of that fantastic chipotle mayo, a squeeze of fresh lime juice and crumbled feta – delicious.

 

Wahaca Bristol - Grilled Corn

 

I love churros, I really do – but sadly, those that came as part of our Mexican feast just didn’t hit the spot. Friends of ours who dined on the same evening had no complaints, but ours were overdone to the extent that they were near impossible to break and dunk into the chocolate sauce without shards flying across the table, and were also incredibly oily. The chocolate sauce was fantastic, though: none of the milky, super-sweet stuff you find elsewhere, just simple, dark chocolate with an incredible bitterness.

 

Wahaca Bristol - Churros

 

We also ordered a couple of drinks to enjoy alongside the churros: a small shot of Mexican hot chocolate (£1.75) for me, and a chilli chocolate tequila toddy (£3.65) for Chris. The hot chocolate itself is dairy free and incredibly rich, while the toddy, Chris said, was potent and full of flavour.

When it comes to paying the bill, this can either be done in the normal way, or via the Wahaca app: simply download the app (they have free wifi), enter your table number and you’ll be able to see what you’ve ordered. You can then pay your bill directly through the app. It makes it easy to split the bill too, saving a lot of hassle.

Overall, we were impressed – our total bill for the evening came to just over £50, which really is a bargain. With great priced food, friendly and helpful service, a buzzing atmosphere and a real focus on quality, I reckon Wahaca Bristol is going to be a success.

 

Please note: our meal and drinks were received free of charge, but this in no way impacted on our opinion. We were not obliged to write a positive review, and the venue did not see this review before it was put up on the site.

 

2 Responses to Wahaca, Queens Road: Review

  1. Pingback: Freebies and more for Wahaca's first birthday... - Bristol Bites | Bristol Bites

  2. Pingback: New £8 taco lunch menu at Wahaca Bristol - Bristol Bites | Bristol Bites

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