Wahaca’s new Southbank Experiment has just opened at the Southbank Centre (where Dishoom’s fabulous Chowpatty Beach was last summer). The temporary restaurant has been constructed out of eight recycled shipping containers, arranged in a two storey overhanging structure that allows enough space for 130 diners with a terraced bar terrace and plenty of comfortable outdoor seating. The summertime pop up makes a lucky number seven location for the locally owned Mexican restaurant group (it’s number eight if you count Wahaca’s “street kitchen” truck).
Sprucing up the place while creating a bit of edge, Wahaca is to have a series of graffiti artists dropping by to paint murals. Currently, there’s some very awesome artwork by Mexico City graff artist, Saner.
If you like Wahaca, you’ll love the Southbank Experiment. Same food and vibe with a bit of yummy innovation – and right smack dab on the river. Yes, there’s even a lofty tequila bar with views over the Thames.
The sun was actually shining (believe it or not!) when I visited – and there was a fresh breeze blowing; I reckon I was as content there as I think I could have been anywhere in London at that moment. Plus, I was in heat freak heaven chowing down on a plate of chilli tacos (a mixture of three chillies sautéed with sweet onions, in three tacos topped with Feta and finished with habanero sauce, £3.95) and washing ‘em down with a fiery michelada (a beer, in this case Corona Extra, served in a salt rimmed glass with lime juice and spice, around £4)! Everything else I had was to a high standard, but those chilli tacos and that michelada made a deliciously lasting impression.
The project is to remain an experimental outpost for the restaurant group throughout the summer. Seasonal Mexican specials will change regularly and Executive Chef, Thomasina Miers, is inviting guest chefs to cook alongside her and help adapt the menu on an on-going basis.
The Wahaca Southbank Experiment is located at Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX. For more details visit wahaca.co.uk.