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The Wahaca Southbank Experiment is our new temporary restaurant, opening at Southbank Centre alongside Waterloo Bridge today. It’s not like a Wahaca restaurant that you may have seen before, we’ve challenged ourselves to be more innovative. It’s built from 8 recycled shipping containers and we’ve introduced a new menu with monthly changing specials, the most popular of which will take up residency in all of our restaurants. We like to think it’ll help to keep us on our toes.
Our 8 shipping containers have been modified to create an interlinked open space on 2 levels to include panoramic windows offering some pretty stunning views of the river and the passing parade of people floating by. If you’re after a cocktail, it also has a dedicated tequila bar serving award winning tequilas and single village mezcals.
We’ve enlisted the help of street art curator Tristan Manco who has invited 2 graffiti artists, Saner and Remed, to decorate the space for our opening, bringing some extra colour to the riverside.
Tommi has been up to her elbows in new recipes specifically for this site following our recent trip to Mexico and LA. We’re starting off with some punchy chilli tacos, salmon ceviche (a Mexico City fusion favourite) and a couple of different ways of eating beautifully slow cooked carnitas.
The Wahaca Southbank Experiment will be our new development kitchen and because the most popular dishes will be added to our regular menu, you are all our new recipe testers. Welcome to the team. We can’t wait to get the experiment started.
The Wahaca Southbank Experiment is located on the terrace under Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX. It will be open daily for the next 18 months from midday – 11pm (10.30pm on Sundays).
This July we’re opening up The Wahaca Southbank Experiment. It’ll be like no Wahaca you’ve ever seen, built from 8 recycled shipping containers and serving a more experimental menu, which we’ll be testing out on you, to see which ones you like best.
As diligent new tenants we wanted to find out what we’re getting ourselves into, so here’s a bit of a low down on our new home and what they’re up to over the summer.
Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre, occupying a 21-acre site that sits in the midst of London’s most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames. The site has an amazing creative and architectural history stretching back to the 1951 Festival of Britain when it was first built.
Southbank Centre is home to the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall (Which is where we’ll be setting up), the Purcell Room and the Hayward Gallery as well as The Saison Poetry Library and the Arts Council Collection. We also found a tranquil little roof top garden, just next door to our new site, manned by volunteers from The Eden Project.
As London welcomes the world this summer, Southbank Centre’s Festival of the World will include inspirational projects from the UK and around the world, which showcase the power of the arts to change the lives of individuals, communities and whole societies. The festival opens on 1 June 2012 for the Diamond Jubilee Weekend, and closes on 9 September 2012. The whole of the Southbank Centre site will be transformed with art installations including a giant ‘robot’ sculpture; a colossal baobab tree made from fabric; ‘Rainbow Park’, a multi-coloured beach; and an exhibition in the Royal Festival Hall of the thinkers, artists and communities who have inspired and contributed to the Festival.
We can’t wait to move in!
We’ve not tried anything like this before. It’s not how restaurants usually get built. But that’s what makes it fun, right?
At the beginning of July, we’re going to be opening a new Wahaca perched next to Southbank Centre alongside Waterloo Bridge. This isn’t the kind of opportunity that comes up every day and we wanted to make sure we do this iconic site justice. So this won’t be like a Wahaca restaurant you’ve seen before.
To start, we’re not building it from bricks and mortar. Wahaca Southbank will be built from 8 recycled shipping containers, which our architects have designed to fit together on 2 storeys with a cantilevered hanging bar space allowing for 130 hungry people.
Our 8 shipping containers have been modified to create a series of interlinked open spaces and include panoramic windows offering some pretty stunning views of the river and the passing parade of people, boats, royalty etc.
Wahaca Southbank will be a chance for you to try out some new dishes. Tommi has already been up to her elbows in new recipes specifically for this site following our recent trip to Mexico and LA, and she will also be joined by guest chefs, invited to help develop other new dishes for the Southbank menu. We’re thinking of this as a development kitchen. The dishes that you tell us you like the most will be added to our menu in our other restaurants. We like to think it’ll help us to keep things fresh.
We’ve also got a bit more experimental with our decoration. We’ve been working with Tristan Manco, general worldwide authority on all things street art, who’s hooked us up with some amazing artists who will be flying in from Mexico City and around the world to graffiti the space, creating an evolving work of art that will be updated as the mood takes us and the seasons change.
One thing we always like to know when opening a restaurant is how long it’ll be around for. But that’s also a little up in the air. You see, Southbank Centre have invited us to join them as part of this summer’s Festival of the World, a 3 month-long celebration of art instillations and events. They’ve said we can stay for as long as it takes them to decide what to do with the space next, which could be 18 months, or it could be longer. But that’s the clever bit you see. When we do move on, we just pick these shipping containers up, and set them up somewhere else. The Wahaca experiment will move on, opening up for new people, introducing new art and design and new dishes to a new community. So please come and get involved with our experiment. We hope you’ll like the results.
Congratulations to the team at The Wahaca Southbank Experiment who have beaten off competition from around the world to pick up this year’s FX International Interior Design award for the best restaurant design in 2012. No small prize that.
Huge thanks go to our architects, Softroom and designers Buro Creative, for bringing the amazing, if slightly wacky idea of building a restaurant from 8 shipping containers to life. We’ve got to admit, they do look pretty cool.
The Wahaca Southbank Experiement is a temporary restaurnat space, which will be housed on London’s Southbank until the end of 2014. We use it to experiment with new dishes. The ones our customers like best are added to the menu in our other restaurants, allowing us to have a development kitchen that everyone can be a part of.
It’s not every day that you get to stack up 8 recycled shipping containers on London’s Southbank and put a restaurant inside them, so we thought we’d make a short film about how we did it and the artists that decorated the space for us. We hope you like it.
Directed, filmed, and edited by Michael Radford www.michaelradford.co.uk
Additional photography by Oliver Radford. Special thanks to Tristan Manco.
With one of the world’s most singular voices and innovative approaches to music, Lila Downs, born in the state of Oaxaca México, daughter of a Mixtec Indian woman and a Scottish University of Minnesota professor. Lila grew up both in Minnesota and Oaxaca, singing her way through childhood soaking up her Mum’s incredible culture and folklore.
For two decades Lila Downs has traveled throughout the world reinterpreting the roots of music, from blues, jazz and soul to cumbia, rock, even rap and klezmer music. She weaves various musical forms with traditional Mexican and native Mesoamerican music, singing in Spanish, English, and the languages of the Mixtec, Zapotec, Maya, and Nahuatl cultures. Her tremendous voice and the originality of her compositions create a musical concept that is highly innovative and unique. Lila is hard to put in a box. She is not simply a Mexican artist, a jazz, blues or a world music artist – there is no real way to categorize her music except to say it is an exciting fusion of international sounds and musical genres.
Lila returns to London after many years with her powerful new album ‘Balas y chocolate’ an album that doesn’t just break musical boundaries, but also addresses issues that affect her beloved Mexico.
To celebrate Lila’s visit to the Southbank, we are having a pre-gig party at our Southbank restaurant’s al fresco bar serving freshly shaken margaritas and Mexican beers from 5pm playing your favourite Mexican tunes to get you ready for the gig.
And… we have a pair of tickets to give away & dinner at Wahaca Southbank, simply head to @wahaca to enter.
Wahaca Southbank Experiment welcomes back the tasty chapulines.
As the population expands, we are putting critical pressure on global food supplies. Insects are eaten regularly by 80% of the world’s population and many see entomophagy (insect eating) as the only logical answer to a future food crisis.
In Mexico, and specially in the estate of Oaxaca, grasshoppers are considered a delicacy and after toasting them with garlic, chilli, lime and salt, they are sold in markets and are most commonly eaten with freshly made tortillas and delicious salsas.
At Wahaca Southbank Experiment, we have cooked them with onions, and chillies to create a nutty salsa, smothered with melted cheese served with tortilla chips for you to very simply dig in. (2014)
Ready to give them a try? pop in and tell us what you think of our dish on Twitter using #chapulinYES or #ChapuliNO
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.
Formed in Mexico in 2006, Pate de Fuá has been crossing borders with their unique folk sound and are currently on a 8 date European Tour. This nine-piece troupe create a unique musical experience fusing elements of avant-rock, outrageous oompah and post-minimalism. Their high-energy, interactive shows are full of exuberant choral harmonies, choreography and intricate grooves.
To be in a chance of winning two tickets to the gig and dinner for two at Wahaca Southbank Experiment of £40 in value, where you will be able to sample Wahaca’s newest specials, simply send an email to email@example.com and tell us your favourite Mexican dish you would like to see included in the specials at Wahaca.
A winner will be chosen at midday on Monday the 14th of July and will be notified by email.
This Friday 4th of December from 8am to 9pm, Tommi will be joining Spark your City with a giant greenhouse on the Southbank.
Kipling’s Spark Your City supports women in creating sparks of happiness in the cities they love and this year,Tommi, will spark an infectious message of happiness by unvealing a giant 12 metre multi-coloured greenhouse on London’s Southbank. Thomasina will be harnessing her passion for educating people on the journey of food. The greenhouse will literally bring food for thought to commuters and passers by, as well as the
trademark Kipling message of happiness.
“I want to tell people about the joy of vegetable gardens and growing your own food. This truly sparks happiness into your
ordinary everyday meal.”
On the first day of the event Thomasina will be handing out a selection of seeds inspired by the colourful herbs in the
greenhouse to anyone who passes by. The public will then have the opportunity to choose a recipe card providing interesting,
quirky tips on how to incorporate their chosen greens into dishes at home. The cards will include twists on Christmas recipes
and instructions on how to spice up meals by integrating home grown flavours during the festive season.
Inspired by Thomasina’s commitment to educating the younger generations on where food comes from and how to grow
your own, Kipling will be donating five fruit trees from the greenhouse to ARK Franklin school following the spark. Giving
pupils the special opportunity to watch the trees grow, care for them and learn about produce along the way.
DATE Friday 4th December 8am – 9pm
Meet and chat with Thomasina from 8am – 11am.
LOCATION London Southbank – In front of The London Television Centre, SE1 9LT