Wahaca Chandos Place 1

66 Chandos Place , London, WC2N 4HG

10 reviews

28 Mexican Covent Garden

Wahaca 2007 - WAHACA094

SquareMeal Review of Wahaca Chandos Place

Ex-MasterChef winner Thomasina Miers now oversees branches of her popular canteen-style eatery across the capital and beyond, luring good-timers and young families with its mix of colourful, fashion-conscious surrounds and ‘flavoursome’ Mexican cooking. Vibrantly spiced street food is the deal, which means tacos filled with grilled steak or marinated, slow-cooked pork pibil, crisp tostadas with ceviche or refried beans, taquitos, quesadillas and specials such as the queso fundido – Mexico’s answer to fondue. Salads, grills and burritos bulk out the menu, while a heart-stopping pudding selection includes churros y chocolate and dulce de leche ice cream. Wahaca’s eco-credentials bear scrutiny, and the upbeat young vibe is fuelled by copious Tequila cocktails – even if that true Mexican zing is sometimes missing from the plates. Note: no bookings, but you can always sip a margarita while you wait.

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7.8

Food & Drink: 8.2

Service: 7.6

Atmosphere: 7.6

Value: 7.9

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 5.0

Stefan P. 23 September 2011

Located just off the piazza in Covent Garden is a small basement restaurant. From street level one can see the slight glimmer of the reclaimed furniture through the windows… if you are passing early enough. Walking past Chandos Place after 6pm, however, will only gift you with a view of people queuing by the roadside. And queue they do! Most evenings in Wahaca in Covent Garden are busy… and I mean 9000 people a week busy. As one of my favourite places to have Mexican food in London I am used to the ambiance and buzz experienced in Wahaca. I thought it would be the perfect venue for 8 of us to begin our night out in Covent Garden. In such a busy restaurant the first thing that hits you is the vibe; the constant buzz of conversation, waiters and waitresses moving through their sections like seasoned professionals and all the while people being seated or paying and leaving. Having arrived in dribs and drabs, we met in the bar after being greeted by a friendly waitress at the door. They won’t seat you until your entire party is together, but we had a few Margaritas’ to keep us company until the rest arrived. They quickly found us a table to accommodate 8 and brought over our drinks with the same speed of service. The menu is a mix of Mexican “street food” and main courses. When the waitress arrived to take our order we happily told her to bring us 2 of everything off the street menu. The food arrived as it was ready; which was perfect for a group of lads starting out for a long evening. This gave us time to chat amongst ourselves and still appreciate the food arriving at our table. It also offered us the opportunity to pick what we wanted, making great interjections into the conversation. The food itself was exquisite; delicious and well presented. The street food menu is, in my opinion, a smaller version of boutique Mexican dishes served tapas style, which only encourages conversation. The service was spot on and the waitress anticipated all our needs. The atmosphere was buzzing with conversation and for a large party we weren’t the loudest in the room. It’s no small wonder that this company continues to do so well. London has been inundated with Italian and French cuisine that’s it’s refreshing to see a greater variety of fresh, good and enjoyable food entertaining our palettes!

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 5.0

dreamalittle 05 August 2011

We went to London on a day trip and ended up wondering round Covent Garden looking for somewhere nice to eat, fortunately we stumbled across Wahaca – awesome! I'd wanted to go for ages (being a stupidly huge fan of Masterchef, why'd they ruin the format? That's for another review though!) so was hugely excited and definitely not disappointed. Delcious Mexican food with great beer and drinks, lovely waiting staff and a nice atmosphere. They even let us move!

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Ross Y. bronze reviewer 16 November 2010

This is right near my office – great place for lunch – really cheap for amazing quality food. Street style mexican – tasty – service is always friendly, staff are up for a laugh – all the food comes as and when. Highly recommend gives this place a try for lunch or a quick laid back dinner – noisy atmosphere and not your old standard boring pseudo mexican food

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Daniel K. 11 August 2010

My partner and I wanted a restaurant that wasn't too fancy and something a bit more than your average TGI's to go for a nice meal before a west-end show and we found it in Wahaca. From the minute we arrived we were made to feel welcome in a clean and contemporary basement room that was as large as it was welcoming. Our waitress was with us right away to offer drinks and to suggest foods we may like, she was very helpful and nothing was too much trouble. We decided to choose a Wahaca selection which included 6 different mexican dishes to really get a taste of everything, we were not dissapointed. The food came up as it was cooked and the flavours were amazing. The food was delicious and the mexican beer and cocktail we ordered complemented this impecibly. Needless to say after the meal our mouths were very hot from the chillis and peppers in the dishes (Not a bad thing for us) so we decided to order a sweet. We ordered the mexican doughnuts which were again flawless. They were hot and you could tell they had just been made, they came with a pot of melted chocolate and were heaven. (we almost ordered some more) Wahaca blew us away. The friendly, welcoming atmosphere coupled with the delightfully authentic and flavoursome mexican dishes made our meal an absolute pleasure and you can bet the next time we're in covent garden we'll be going back. Wonderful food!

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Sabrina's Passions platinum reviewer 26 July 2010

If there is a better authentic Mexican restaurant in London, then I am certainly not aware of it. Wahaca is consistent, delicious, reasonably priced and very informal. Service is always friendly and the restaurant is always heaving, no matter what time of day. A short wait is common but does not deter me in any way. I prefer to choose lots of the delicious little dishes like the tacos, open faced on soft little tortillas with fillings like the spicy chicken tinga, the delicious pork pibil with black bean paste of my all time favourite taco, steak with grilled cheese (queso blanco). The chicken taquitos and chorizo and potato quesadillas are lovely too. Sides like black beans with cheese and green rice are always great pairings. I just wish their portion of guacamole would increase a bit! For dessert, Wahaca's Churros with a little cup of delectably devillish melted dark chocolate for dipping are too tempting to resist. Churros (long thin donuts dipped in sugar and cinnamon) are one of my favourite desserts of all time and Wahaca have some of the best in town. I have tried all the newcomers that grabbed onto the coat tails of Wahaca's success but not one of them could possibly compare in quality, flavour or price to Wahaca!

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

Ben L. 28 September 2009

A good little place. I don't get pangs to go here, but I do enjoy it. Good spot for lunch.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 2.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 2.0

Donna M. 27 May 2009

Long long queue…staff not overly attentive when you are sat down but it is quick and the food is quite nice.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 4.0

Oliver R. bronze reviewer 01 February 2009

Having lived in Mexico for a few months I was intrigued to see what this restaurant would offer, billed as ‘Market Food’. Previous reviews have highlighted problems with the front of house but I am pleased to say that we managed to avoid any major problems by walking in and putting our name on the list a few hours before we planned to go and then went for a few drinks. It would be easy to see how one could be disappointed as those turning up had to go away again, possibly for as long as an hour. Indeed this restaurant will probably disappoint if one intended to turn up and eat, however I do not feel this is the point of this venue or the way in which its advertises itself. It is also important to bear in mind that once seated food starts arriving within minutes, and with a turnover as large as Wahaca you know it has to be freshly prepared Once at the table one is greeted by friendly and in the most part Spanish or South American staff, and the menus double as a place matt so one can order more if not satisfied with the first delivery of food. One can choose from a selection of smaller dishes, probably 2 to 3 for the peckish or 4 to 5 for the truely hungry, or a selection of more substantial Mexican influenced food. The smaller dishes, or ‘Market Food’ are very tasty and between our group we probably sampled them all. They have varying degrees of authenticicity and perhaps ironically only lose their ability to make one feel in Mexico by the fact they are so finely polished around the edges. It is unlikely a Market food stall in Mexico City would pay quite so much attention to presentation! The larger dishes are tasty but less authentic and sadly a number of the larger dishes find their flavours lost amidst a very rich and overpowering (nevertheless tasty) tomato salsa. We failed to sample the desserts other then the churros with Chocolate thanks to some over-eating of other courses. The doughnuts (Churros) were tasty but a little salty and each mouthful felt like another artery in your heart was getting clogged, and there was nowhere near enough chocolate sauce. The drinks are a little pricey however the Mojitos are amongst the best I've had outside Mexico City and the selection of beer is more than adequate. It is a shame that Dos Equis XX (one of Mexicos most popular beers) is not included at the bar when Corona Export is: It is almost unheard of to see a Mexican who drinks Corona! The atmosphere was pleasant, but not overly reminiscent of Mexico, however Wahaca does not claim to be completely Mexican, rather bring a taste of the country to London. For what we ate, and the evening the restaurant provided one would have to give Wahaca a big thumbs up. Just be prepared to go early and order a table and perhaps wait up to an hour: If you accept this fact you are going to enjoy yourself.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

HP gold reviewer 26 October 2008

Having visited Wahaca for the third time today, I cannot help but like this place. While I have to agree that the long waits and no booking policy are a real pain, the food is definitely worth it. There's a nice relaxed but buzzy atmosphere to the place and it's a fun place to eat something a little different from the norm in central London. It's only been in the last few years that Latin American food has really taken off and Wahaca's popularity (i.e. queueing most nights) is testament to the fact that it is filling this niche in the market. All the dishes we tried were fresh and tasty and full of flavour. I used to feel that the menu was somewhat restrictive, offering the same ingredients in a different format but the latest menu offers a much greater variety of both meat and vegetarian plates. The only disappointment were the actual tortillas used for the tacos which were unnecessarily greasy compared to the other dishes. I am inclined to agree with the other review as to the authenticity of some of the options (I certainly never saw a single churro in the weeks I spent in Oaxaca), this is certainly a step in the right direction and is far removed from the tex mex offerings of places like TGI Fridays. If you are new to Mexican cuisine and don't know what a chipotle is, Wahaca offers a much more cosmopolitan approach to mexican party food.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 2.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 2.0

Al B. 01 October 2008

Hmmm, I've been here twice and both times I've left feeling annoyed. They make you wait at least at hour for a table (I arrived on a weeknight at 7pm) and they give you unrealistic times so when you come back and expect your table ready, you have another half an hour to wait. The Front of House staff are rude, sarcastic and kept forgetting our booking. I can understand they have a stressful job but no need to be rude, after all, we are the ones waiting for a table. The first time we went, we ended up sitting about an inch away from the people who had been queueing behind us for an hour which was a bit awkward as it felt like we knew them by this point. Wahaca is a money-making machine. If there is a table available for 4 but you are a party of 3, they would rather make you wait for an hour than lose out on that extra person's spend. This is not a struggling business, they are constantly full and pack everyone in like sardines. It's also noisy and you have to shout to make yourself heard. The food is good but the above really does spoil the experience. Wahaca claims to be authentic Mexican but I'm not so sure. They offer Churros y Chocolate (which I love) and, according to Wahaca: "churro stalls are found all over Mexico". Which is strange because I've travelled through a fair part of Mexico and never saw a churro stall. So why does it attract so many people? I think us British can't help but be attracted to a queue. If there's a queue, it must be good right? Please don't jump on this bandwagon and spend your money somewhere more worthy.

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Wahaca Chandos Place is included in the following SquareMeal lists