In all honesty, I’d never been to a Wahaca, although friends love the UK chain for its reasonably-priced food.
But in all honesty, I’m not a fan of Mexican – cue outcry!! I used to live in New York and there’s plenty of great Mexican restaurants but I tended to avoid them, going with Sicilian, Japanese or French instead.
With tacos and burritos, I prefer the filling to the floury cases and beans / rice make me feel like a lead weight.
However, when in comes to guacamole, I could eat this stuff in bucketfuls and tequila also tickles my fancy.
So, when I heard about the Wahaca Test Kitchen in Shoreditch I decided to step out of my comfort zone and delve into the unknown.
Well, on stepping into the new Wahaca Test Kitchen just near Old Street tube station I realised I had actually been there before.
I hazily remembered it as a pub and music venue with broken glass stuck to my shoes and condensation on the windows.
Today however, the venue has undergone quote the transformation and I felt in some realm of Mexico with sunny colours hitting my senses, bright lights shining down and palms flapping in the heated breeze.
I could also feel the warmth from the kitchen, which opens out into the venue and provides diners with a glimpse of what’s in store.
On sitting down in one corner, I started tackling the menu.
In fact, my friend and I polished off a margarita while perusing the list with the amount of choice leaving us a little baffled.
After much deliberation, we picked an assortment of dishes to share.
It dawned on me how much variety there is with Mexican food and the recipes I read all made my tummy rumble.
To start we got a portion of guacamole and tortilla chips, with an array of toppings presented to us to play with.
We opted to spice up our smashed avocados with a sprinkling of nuts, some chilli and a spoonful of pomegranate seeds.
Next up, we got stuck into some grilled baby gem topped with crab and buttermilk, followed by a bowl of market slaw and two open tacos topped with roast cauliflower.
Looking for something a little meatier to get our teeth into, we rounded our food fiesta off with a wedge of grilled sea bream and a super-charged salad, sauced with avocado and feta.
It certainly was a feast for the senses, with nicely-balanced flavours colliding in brightly-coloured bowls.
While devouring the spread of tasty tapas – no rice or beans in sight – we continued rolling with the delicious margaritas.
I opted for a chili-infused one for my second round, and the spicy kick certainly helped clear my head cold.
After making quite a mess at the table with our gleeful grazing we plumped for dessert.
The salted caramel and black coconut ice creams are must-tries and we couldn’t put our spoons down as we took it in turns to chip away at the delicious frozen balls. Unfortunately they’d run out of the dark chocolate and pecan brownies, which were our number one choice.
The whole concept of the Wahaca Test Kitchen is to experiment with new dishes, with the view of introducing them to other restaurants.
The culinary creations are described as ‘interpretations of contemporary Mexican cooking’.
It certainly helped me see a different side to Mexican.
A convert? Maybe! For those brownies I never tasted, I’ll definitely be popping back.
To book a table call 020 3889 0483 or visit www.wahaca.co.uk