Wahaca Wimbledon review

Celebrate Day of the Dead: Wahaca, Wimbledon

Celebrate Day of the Dead: Wahaca, Wimbledon

A feast fit for the departed – Jenny Booth reviews Wimbledon’s Wahaca

In England, we celebrate all things spooky with pumpkin-carving and trick-or-treating for a few hours on Halloween, but in Mexico, they really know how to celebrate the spirits of the departed: they hold a festival that lasts several days. Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, is a vibrant and colourful celebration of life that takes place across Mexico every 1 and 2 November, when houses and cemeteries are decorated with garlands, banquets are prepared, faces are painted, and stories are told to keep fresh the memory of those who are no longer with us.

Food and drink is a huge part of the Day of the Dead celebrations, so where better to seek out that Dia de los Muertos feeling than Wahaca, the Mexican street food restaurant with a branch in central Wimbledon? Time and Leisure paid a visit this week and was quickly caught up in the spine-tingling atmosphere with the colourful display of painted skulls and the skull face masks on every table. Service was snappy (no one wants to keep the dead waiting!) and we quickly ordered Margarita to toast the spirits of the departed in – well, spirit. It was delicious and had a hint of a kick, perfectly served over boulders of ice with a generous rim of salt. If you feel brave, try La Ofrenda – the spooky version shaken with dark red pomegranate, with a black rim of volcanic lava salt. The non-alcoholic mocktail Strawberry and Mint Cooler was tangy and fresh with fruit, and not too sweet. While we waited for the food we dallied with a bowl of guacamole, which was creamy and good, and an even more delicious Wahacamole which saves the environment by being based on fava beans, not avo.


Wahaca specialises in small plates of street food which are served up hot and fresh, delivering intense hits of flavour. Dish of the night was the chargrilled hispi, a seasonal special for Dia de los Muertos, which is a soft wedge of cabbage, chargrilled, served with a fresh herb and cashew nut mole (sauce) that is tangy with lime and dressed with spelt grains that add nuttiness and texture and sharp-sweet pomegranate seeds. It is an unusual experience to have to fend off the marauding fork of a teenager desperate to pinch your cabbage. The chicken club quesadilla was toasted on the outside and tender and flavoursome on the inside, while the lamb barbacoa taco – another seasonal special – had lamb slow-cooked to melting point in a smoky marinade with a hint of mint. The gluten-free tacos were almost as good as the floury versions, which is rare. For pudding, we enjoyed crisp churros with rich chocolate sauce, while the dairy-free chocolate shots hit the spot with an intense hit of cacao combined with a thick creamy texture. All in all a feast fit for the dead.

Wahaca, 35 The Broadway, Wimbledon SW19 1QD, is celebrating Day of the Dead from 26 October – 2 November, and on 2 November will be offering complimentary shots of tequila or mezcal for diners to toast the departed. The seasonal menu is available throughout November.

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