Anyway, what all this is inevitably leading up to is a food review. Yee-ha!
Today we went to Bluewater, which to the uninitiated is a giant mall in Greenhithe, Kent. North Kent. So far North Kent as to be practically London, actually. Given my limited experience of Malls of the World, I'd say it compares in size to The Mall Of Georgia - without all the satellite shops and restaurants. However, it wins big time over that mall because it has WAY more restaurants inside it, and many of them are full-size, not just little dinky food-court sized ones with limited menus.
The food, of course, was my main motivation for going there. I am not a big fan of malls. Trudging around with bags full of shopping in shops you don't want to really be in and sweating from the air-conditioned temperature controlled environment is not my idea of fun. It does not make me a happy boy. In fact I have resisted the invitation to go along with my other half to Bluewater before, purely based on that fact. But she gradually wore me down and I relented, especially after going online and seeing the vast selection of food options available. It has been said before (by me) on this very blog, that the one cuisine that is nigh impossible to get a decent version of here in the UK is, understandably, Mexican food. But after looking at the menu on the Wahaca website and noting that the chain was started by a former winner of MasterChef (Thomasina Miers), I decided then and there that that was top of my list - either that or Wagamama. However, after eating some Japanese food from Waitrose yesterday, the Mexican swung it.
Laura, my partner, has never had what you might call full-on screamin' authentic Mexican chow. She's had enchiladas (made by me) and fajitas courtesy of Old El Paso, but not what you might describe as the real deal. Well, today, all that has changed.
The first thing I was alarmed to see was that there was a long line. Ugh. But then I realised it was a line for Nando's, the purveyors of piri-piri chicken, which apparently people cannot seem to get enough of these days. Next door at Wahaca, there was no line and we were warmly welcomed and taken straight to a table. The first thing I noticed was the wonderful eclectic design, layout and decor.
|The lights were behind these fixtures, made of hundreds of empty plastic bottles.|
The cool design was not just limited to the front of house. The bathrooms were pretty groovy too.
|Hand washing facilities.|
|Why am I showing you the urinal? Well, if you look closer...|
|..each one had a picture of a fly in the bowl. Made me look twice, for sure.|
|Really good salsa!|
Drinks, well, I chose a Paloma, which is pretty much the national drink of Mexico...
|A divine concoction of grapefruit juice, tequila, lime and soda.|
Laura had a non-alcoholic Citrus Fizz which I sadly neglected to take a pic of, but it looked very similar to the Paloma!
We chose the ceviche next, because, well, I like ceviche. Two crispy tortillas with salad and shrimp and scallop ceviche piled on top. Yum.
We then chose the Wahaca selection, a selection of small dishes for 2 people which contained...
|A large broad bean quesadilla... yeah, I know! Broad beans in anything other than yer Gran's Sunday lunch s different, to be sure, but this really worked. And for my American pals... broad beans are what you guys call lima beans.|
|Three chicken tinga tacos...|
|Three pork pibil tacos...|
|Two potato taquitos,and two black bean tostadas.|
All f the food was well cooked, well made and beautifully presented. The staff were uniformly excellent, very knowledgeable but not constantly in-your-face about it, and very friendly, clearly enjoying working there which to me says a helluva lot. They were genuinely pleased when I told them I loved the salsa (in fact the phrase I think I used was 'kick-ass') and this was the closest I have come to tasting real proper Mexican food since I arrived back on this sceptred isle. A real hearty 5 out of 5 yums for Wahaca !
|The hard-at-work chefs.|