Table Talk: Wahaca brings a taste of Mexico to London

Tue Dec 22, 2009 6:02am EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Daniel Fineren

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - After decades in a culinary desert of Tex-Mex eateries with plastic cacti and dreadful cheese-drenched nachos, Wahaca is leading a wave of modern restaurants bringing the authentic flavors of Mexico to London.

The British capital has been transformed from a land of pie and eels shops into a global food lovers' paradise over the last few decades by dozens of nationalities making it their home.

But few Mexicans have settled in Britain and their culinary riches have remained largely unknown until former Tommi Miers and business partner Mark Selby opened the first branch of Wahaca in 2007 after falling in love with Mexican food while traveling.

"Mexican food is so badly depicted in the UK. There are so many more interesting things to offer," Selby told Reuters in an interview at the company's third restaurant which opened in Canary Wharf in November.

"I really wanted to do proper Mexican food ... it can be fresh, it can be wonderful, the flavors can be brilliant."

Miers and Selby traveled around Mexico in the late 1990s, with Miers returning to cook her way around its food hotspots for over a year, collecting recipes as she went.

On her return, she won British TV cookery contest show Masterchef in 2005 with a Mexican dish and the two opened the first Wahaca (phonetic pronunciation of Mexican state Oaxaca) in a basement in trendy Covent Garden two years later.

That branch now serves around 5,500-6,000 people a week, with queues often stretching up the stairs and down the street. The company is now looking to open a fourth branch soon.   Continued...