Stemming from the momentous success of its multiple London locations, Wahaca has opened its doors in Manchester, bringing with it the taste of Mexico. Combining traditional street food favourites with Tequila and aguas frescas galore makes for quite the legend to explore.
You will find Wahaca in Manchester city’s historic Corn Exchange building and spilling onto Exchange Square. The recently renovated Grade II listed Triangle building is now home to a lively new dining quarter and has been transformed by the Mexican maestro to reflect the vibrancy and freshness of authentic Mexican markets.
Looking to the buzzing streets of Mexico for inspiration, the vibrant decor creates a contemporary feel that bursts with colour to reflect the exotic flavours offered in the menu. It is housed over two floors, boasting two cocktail bars and an on-the-go burrito bar. A sculptural staircase masterpiece is flaunted at the centre of the restaurant and leads the path to a spacious balcony bar overlooking the Corn Exchange; a sleek arrangement for some pre-drink Tequila slammers and Mezcal wonders.
Baby to Masterchef winner, Thomasina Miers, the food was guaranteed to be fresh and packed with flavour. And if like me you struggle with too much choice - prepare yourself for a challenge! Not only is there authentic street food to tuck into, there is also Tex Max style tapas and larger dishes for more hearty eating. So naturally, I had some of it all.
As we tackled the menu, we nibbled on some guacamole and tortilla chips (£4.25) bursting with zesty flavours and hands down my favourite guac experience yet. We then moved onto the chilli quesadillas (£4.25) mixed with sweet sautéed onions and feisty jalapeno peppers, and the pork pibil tacos (£4.25), slow cooked in Wahaca’s special yucatan marinade delight. Intrigued by the ‘market treats’ section of the menu we opted for a side of smoky chipotle cauliflower cheese (£4.50) – as tasty as it sounds – and the chilli chorizo fundido (£4.85) smothered in melted cheese with a Mexican style chorizo oil.
Bursting at the seams, it felt almost criminal to pass up the opportunity to dine on churros y chocolate (£4.25), a Mexican swing on the classic doughnut, partnered with a rich chocolate and caramel sauce to dunk as you please. Because nothing says a balanced diet like a truck load of power foods followed by some sweet salvation.
Vibrant designs and a quirky layout not only echo the spirit of a Mexican market on a sunny Hispanic day, but succeed in providing a unique dining experience unlike no other. A laid back no reservations policy makes this an easy place to swing by on a lunch break or after a daylong shopping spree in confidence of some hearty food served with a smile. Whilst its sleek modernist decor and spacious balcony bar area reveal it a hidden gem perfect for a pre-drinking, Sangria fuelled fiesta. Please note: tackling a taco isn’t a pretty site, so save this spot for your nearest and dearest AKA those who will still love you with guac hanging from your chin.
Much to my delight, Wahaca has succeeded in its venture to recreate the vibrancy and vitality of Mexico through its big flavours and bold interiors. Not only this, the Mexican maestro gets brownie points for catering to specific dietary requirements and for its economical conscience using ingredients sourced from local farming communities, and building their dynasty in the most environmentally friendly way possible. Thumbs up Wahaca.