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Highlights from our Oaxacan supper club with Alejandro Ruiz

A few weeks ago, we took our Covent Garden restaurant on the first step of a pretty cool trip around our favourite regions of Mexico. Throughout 2015 we’re throwing the doors of our original kitchen open to some of Mexico’s best known, highly-awarded, creative and influential chefs by hosting a series of 1-night-only supper clubs to introduce you to a whole new set of dishes and flavours that hide in amongst the corners of the Mexican Motherland.

First up, was one of Wahaca’s oldest and best friends and the guy who we think of as the godfather of cooking in the state that gave us our name, Alejandro Ruiz from the state of Oaxaca. 200 of you were lucky enough to grab tickets that sold out in under 3 hours, and had the chance to taste probably the finest Oaxacan dishes that London has ever seen. Here’s how it went…

 

The menu was created by Alejandro using dishes from his incredibly well respected Casa Oaxaca restaurant and his newly opened Mexico City restaurant Guzina Oaxaca, which 2 weeks earlier had been described by Time Magazine as one of the 11 best new restaurants in the world. No small feat for Tommi and our amazing crew of chefs to help him recreate on the night.

Hoja Santa taquitos with Frijoles and Queso Oaxaca
Hoja Santa taquitos with Frijoles and Queso Oaxaca

Dishes showed off the amazing diversity and sparklingly beautiful flavours of the region, and ranged from Hoja Santa leaves stuffed with Oaxacan cheese and chapulines (grasshoppers), to pan seared Welsh sea bass with a herb and cactus mole verde, and confit suckling pig with a spiced fruity Tehuano sauce from the Isthmus de Tehuantepec region.

Alejandro Ruiz Thomasina Miers Covent Garden Supper Club Oaxaca
Confit suckling pig with a spiced fruity Tehuano sauce

It’s safe to say, socks were blown clean off.

If Oaxacan cuisine sounds like it’s for you, then you can still grab a taste of the action. Head into our Covent Garden restaurant before 12th April, where we’re serving a Regional Specials Menu inspired by Alejandro’s cooking. Check it out here.

The next stop on Our Culinary Trip is The Yucatan Peninsula, and we’re hugely excited to have one of Mexico’s most well-known chefs, Roberto Solis coming over to cook with Tommi on the 14th April 2015. Roberto is known as the leader of the “New Yucatecan Cuisine” having worked in some of the world’s leading kitchen’s including Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck and at Noma with René Redzepi and he promises to bring the true taste of his home region to Covent Garden with his own personal flair in a night not to be missed. Tickets will be on sale soon right here on our blog, but if you’d like to pre-register your interest in grabbing a much sought after ticket to the event on the 14th, drop an email to ola@wahaca.co.uk (Pop Roberto Solis in the subject line),

Top tunes we are showcasing at Wahaca this month

Ever wondered how we choose the Latin-inspired funky playlist for our restaurants?

We love music at Wahaca and we are always checking out new Mexican talent as well as Latin beats from around the world. That’s why we decided to bring you our Top 5 each month with our brand new playlist for your listening pleasure with some added tracks.

Our top 5 this month includes tracks from Mexican amazonic cumbia sensations Sonido Gallo Negro, Tex-Mex indie rockers Calexico and the brand new electronic Mexican collaboration between IMS & Toy Selectah: Compass, who are set to come to London next month as part of La Linea Festival.

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TOP TIP: if you want to know what tune is playing when you visit your favourite Wahaca, simply tap on your Wahaca app and at the bottom, you will get the very track that is on, right then, better than Shazaming, magic courtesy of Open Ear Music.

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 Do you have songs to suggest? Just use the hashtag #wahacamusic on Twitter.

Democracia real YA! Oaxaca street art collective Lapiztola come to London

A powerful street-art movement has been brewing in the streets of Mexico since 2006, and with the local social and political issues, it has become a way for young people to express their anger and frustrations through art.

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Lapiztola collective in their early years initially took over friend’s walls to create something interesting and colourful, but later on, they realized that they could use those walls to communicate with others.

As part of a series of events for the Global Justice campaign, Lapiztola members Rosario and Roberto, were invited to bring original works to London that give an insight into the reality Mexico’s young people are trying to change.

Catch Democracia Real Ya! at the Rich Mix until Saturday 27th of February or check out their London mural just off Brick Lane.

For more original murals from Oaxaca in London, artists Fabian and Cawamo’s can be seen at Wahaca St. Paul’s.

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Wahaca wins for insect eating innovation at the 2015 SRA Awards

We’re over the moon to pick up The Sustainable Restaurant Association’s Innovation award for championing the sustainability of Enotomophagy, or insect eating, at today’s SRA  Awards.

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It’s great news for us and the planet as more of us join the 80% of the world’s population who already consider eating insects as a normal part of their diet and help to reduce the pressure on more traditional meat supplies.

Chapulines SRA Award Sustainability
Tommi and our Chapulines Fundido at Wahaca Southbank

 

If you’re thinking the idea of eating a grasshopper sounds a bit gross, honestly we can’t blame you, generally insects aren’t something that are a normal part of our diets in The UK. But take a moment to ponder why we think of them so differently to prawns, shrimps or lobster which are all arthropods and seriously tasty.

 

If you haven’t tried them already, we’re currently serving a few dishes using the hugely popular Mexican ingredient, chapulines, or grasshoppers, so come down and tuck into our Chapulines Fundido from our Street food specials menu, or our Chorizo and Chapulines Memela exclusively available on our Covent Garden Oaxacan Regional Specials Menu.
Chapulines are particularly popular in the Oaxaca region, from where we took our name, and earlier this month, Tommi and Oaxacan super-chef, Alejandro Ruiz got busy in the kitchen cooking up a chorizo and chapulines memela for the more adventurous of you to try recreating at home. Here’s how…

Please do continue to vote on twitter to let us know what you think of the chapulines, with either #ChapulinYES or #ChapuliNO depending on which way you swing.

The good news is, it’s a big #ChapulinYES from the SRA.

Wahaca Southbank goes piñata crazy

As part of Imagine Children’s Festival  at Southbank this half term, “Piñatas London” is taking over our bar this Wednesday lunchtime (18th of Feb 12-2pm), to run a super-arty hands on FREE workshop for children of all ages.

Little ones will be able to decorate their very own piñata to take home, while adults can enjoy some delicious street food and Southbank Specials.

Piñatas London was founded in 2011, when Phillip Mursell and Iona Ascherson met at university. Phillip had long been involved in his family business Mexicolore, an award winning education resource dedicated to bringing Aztec culture and history to life in schools. They are experts in making traditional and funky, bespoke piñatas working at schools throughout London. This promises to be a very special workshop.

No booking necessary.

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Our Brand New Regional Oaxacan Menu Launches at Wahaca Covent Garden

After the huge excitement of cooking with one of Mexico’s finest and most renowned chefs, Alejandro Ruiz on Tuesday evening, our original Covent Garden restaurant will be offering an exclusive menu, dedicated to his home region, and the state that gave us our name, Oaxaca.

The menu will be available for 8 weeks only from Wednesday evening and has been designed by Tommi and our development team to highlight the finest ingredients from the region, showcasing how lip-smackingly sumptuous eating in Southern Mexico can really get.

Here’s what’s on offer…

Oaxaca Menu

The dishes are available alongside your favourites from the Wahaca menu, so feel free to order 1 or more, to share or be selfish with.

The menu uses traditional salsas, moles and cooking methods that you’ll find across the Oaxaca state including venison fillet with an incredibly rich spiced fruit sauce from the Isthmus de Tehuantepec region and our own home made dark Oaxacan mole alongside the meltingly tender beef short rib.

Roast vegetable pipian

Fans of our recent campaign to get the sustainable practice of entomophagy (that’s insect eating) into British diets can give our Chorizo and Chapulines memela a try, and see if the nuttiness of crumbled grasshoppers gets you voting #ChapulinYES or #ChapuliNO. If you’re able to resist Tommi’s Chocolate brownie with burnt salted Mezcal caramel and clotted cream, you’re stronger willed than we are, and to be completely honest, you’re probably doing something wrong. It’s going to blow your mind.

We’d love to hear what you think about our interpretation of dishes from the Oaxaca state, so please tweet us your thoughts using #CulinaryTrip.

To find out where we’ll be taking you next on our mission around Mexico’s top foodie regions and to hear the latest on our supper club series, keep your eyes peeled on the blog.

Beef Shortrib

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Spoon shaped Soup-erheros to the rescue

Our Mexican Spoon Amnesty is in full swing this January, offering free tacos and forgiveness to anyone who returns one of the 4,000 spoons that have gone missing from our restaurants in the last year. Thanks to everyone who has done the right thing and returned our ladles to their loved ones. We hope you’re enjoying the clear conscience and have had a stern word with yourself. Good on you.

Of course we know there are a whole host of you who are honest to the core and have never been even a little bit tempted to steal our cutlery.  YOU GUYS ARE AWESOME. And over the last 2 weeks we can see you’ve been putting your law-abiding creativity to good work, creating illustrated Soup-erheros as part of our #SpoonCartoon competition. Together they’re creating an army of spoon shaped warriors all ready to join the fight against cutlery crime.

Here’s a line-up of some of our favourite #SpoonCartoons from over the past 2 weeks and click the link to see more incredible entries on twitter.

Check out how awesomely talented our Cutlery Crime fighting customers are
Check out how awesomely talented our Cutlery Crime fighting customers are

And our pick of the spoons for now is this piece of illustrative genius from Lucy, (Aged 3, plus 20).  With Spidey on our sides, surely we can’t lose this fight. Definitely worth a meal for four. We’ll be in touch.

Spidey Spoon

To join in the fun, and be in with a chance to win a meal for 4, drop into Wahaca (Ahhem…. This might be a great opportunity to also bring that spoon of ours back), grab some pencils and get sketching on our #SpoonCartoon postcards. We’ll be picking more favourites and more winners soon.

Together we’ll fight this terrible epidemic. One spoon at a time.

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2015: The year of Mexico in the UK

Hola 2015, the year we celebrate The Year of Mexico in the UK and the UK in Mexico, which was announced by our countries’ respective Governments as a pairing up in celebration of the diversity, talent and cultural heritage of our two nations.

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During the year, Mexico and Great Britain will be hosting a huge programme of events in the arts and many other disciplines like innovation, tourism and education, showcasing the best both countries have to offer.

At Wahaca, we are planning to celebrate the huge diversity of Mexican cuisine, (named by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of the World) so we’re starting the year with the exciting news of a series of Supper Clubs at our Covent Garden restaurant, where Mexico’s top chefs will be cooking regional dishes with our very own Thomasina Miers, taking us on a culinary trip across Mexico.  Chefs like Alejandro Ruiz from Casa Oaxaca, Roberto Solis from Nectar and Enrique Olvera from Pujol, Pujol being  20 on the list of 2014′s World’s 50 best restaurants.

The variety of ingredients and dishes, originating and being served up in Mexico often comes as a surprise, but the diversity is vast, meaning there’s always something new and mouthwatering to discover. To have a peek at the variety of cuisines found across Mexico, and to give you a taste of what’s coming, take a look a this video:

As well as our supper club nights, we’ll be collaborating with the Mexican Embassy throughout the year on events that showcase the fun, vibrant culture of Mexico. As part of the fun, our van will also take to the roads across the UK, bringing the wonders of Mexican street food to new places near you, so keep an eye on Twitter for where we’ll be parked up next.

First announcements include the Ballet Folclorico de Amalia Hernandez: Mexico’s National Ballet Company’s week long residency at the London Coliseum, The Mexican Morrissey Project UK tour and our very own Day of the Dead Festival, the biggest seen in this country, set to captivate thousands.

To make sure you don’t miss a thing, sign up to our database here.

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Watch out for our Regional Oaxacan Specials menu, exclusive to Wahaca Covent Garden

Wow. Looks like you guys are big fans of the Oaxaca region and its foodie specialities – Ticket for Tommi and Alejandro Ruiz’s Oaxacan supper club sold out in less than 3 hours. But fear not, there’s still a chance for you to get a taste of the action and try dishes inspired by this very special evening.

Following the amazing demand for tickets, we’ve devised a brand new Regional Oaxacan Specials menu inspired by Alejandro’s cooking and his home region, which will be exclusively available at Wahaca Covent Garden from 11th February for 8 weeks only.

The Regional Oaxacan Specials menu brings a new and exciting level of dishes to our original Covent Garden home, aiming to push our creativity and twist our cooking to give a taste of a more indulgent Mexican cuisine to our Covent Garden customers.

Our development team have been working on Oaxacan dishes like this slow cooked beef short rib in Oaxacan mole. Mmmmm
Our development team have been working on Oaxacan dishes like this slow cooked beef short rib in Oaxacan mole. Mmmmm

Sitting right alongside our well-loved main menu, the Oaxacan specials will be available until April, when they will make way for a new set of specials inspired by Mexico City’s most highly awarded chef, Enrique Olvera, who will be flying over to cook with Tommi in Covent Garden for the second in our Supper Club series as our Culinary trip through Mexico continues.

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Alejandro Ruiz and Tommi Miers’ Supper Club at Wahaca Covent Garden – Tickets now on sale

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But don’t miss your chance to try our Regional Oaxacan Specials Menu, inspired by Alejandro’s visit, exclusively at Wahaca Covent Garden.

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Following the announcement of our 2015 Mexican super-chef supper club series, tickets are now on sale for our first event, on 10th February, when Tommi and world renowned Mexican chef, Alejandro Ruiz will be cooking up a four course feast of Oaxacan delicacies, in our original Covent Garden home. With only 100 seats available on a first come, first served basis, anyone with a real interest in Mexico and Mexican cooking should grab their tickets, pronto.

To buy your tickets click here to visit our Grub Club page and hit ‘Book Now’ to register

Alejandro’s menu, inspired by his home town and region of Oaxaca will take diners on a 4 course culinary tour of the area, with highlights including Hoja santa taquitos with Oaxacan cheese, Chapulines and fresh salsas; and Suckling pig with guiso tehuano.

Hoja Santa taquitos with Oaxaca Cheese and fresh salsa
Hoja Santa taquitos with Oaxaca Cheese and fresh salsa at Casa Oaxaca

In keeping with the regional menu, we’ll be creating a special Mezcal cocktail for the night and will be on hand to serve up a range of Mezcals paired with the dishes Alejandro is serving. Tickets for this mind-bendingly tasty four course meal are £40 per person, (incl. service), and are available to buy through our supper club partner, Grub Club’s page now. So what are you waiting for? See you down there.

Tommi, Alejandro and a pair of pineapples, back in the day .
Tommi, Alejandro and a pair of pineapples, back in the day .