It’s that time of year again – shades, shorts and a slackening of the rules around eating ice cream before midday. So to ensure you hit that culinary sweet spot, we’ve launched a new summer menu that’s stocked full of suitably seasonal delights.
This year, as we turn 10 years old, Tommi has been hard at work flicking back through the archives, and has pulled together a menu of her favourite summer dishes from a decade of cooking in the Wahaca kitchens, and sprinkled it with a few inventions inspired by our recent travels around the Motherland.
Watch out for highlights like our new buttermilk chicken tacos – crispy fried chicken, topped with habanero & white onion relish & a spiced mayo; extra cheesy quesadillas, including the new chicken club; fire roasted cactus and courgette burritos and a heavenly hibiscus-roasted aubergine salad with roast serrano hummus, mint vinaigrette and salsa macha. New to our market treats section, a four cheese empanada, stuffed with four different cheeses in one pastry parcel. We crisp it up and top it with a fresh tomatillo salsa ready for you to take a chomp.
If you like the sound of that, Book yourself in and take your taste buds on a trip to discover a little bit more of the magic of the Mexican markets.
We are delighted to to be the first restaurant group in the UK to be certified as a CarbonNeutral company – here’s how:
Since opening our very first restaurant in Covent Garden in 2007, we have sought to be a climate leader in the industry, challenging ourselves to ensure that each site has as low an environmental impact as possible. Our group, which currently has 23 locations, has reduced the average total energy consumption of newer sites (those established after 2013) by 36%. Further to this, we have regularly assessed the efficiency of older locations, and by upgrading systems and appliances have decreased the average energy consumption of older sites by 15%. For example, adjusting a heater battery at the Bluewater Wahaca led to a 76% reduction in gas use. In 2016, through offsetting the remaining unavoidable energy usage by investing in far-reaching energy-saving initiatives, Wahaca has been certified as having a net zero carbon footprint.
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.
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’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.