Veganuary @ Wahaca Brighton Review
The UK’s favourite Mexican street food restaurant have kicked off the new year by launching a positively plant powered menu that sees vegan friendly dishes take centre stage.
While I’m not a vegan, I certainly do what I can to make ethical decisions. I am aware of my own environmental impact and choosing vegan food regularly is one way to reduce my carbon footprint. Regular readers will know I am a massive fan of Wahaca’s, the UK’s most sustainable dining establishment, and it is exciting to see the launch of their new completely dedicated vegan set menu which is full of planet-freindly plant-based 100% delicious Mexican street-food, as well as some exciting new additions to a their regular menu that already boasts over half of which is vegetarian anyway! All this just in time for Veganuary.. How could I resist taking my ethically minded-self down to my favourite Mexican eatery to try out some of the dishes?
Even if you have not had the pleasure of eating in Wahaca you would surely have heard of the Mexican Street food behemoth that has taken the country by storm since celebrity chef Thomasina Miers opened her first restaurant back in 2006, just a year after she shot to stardom winning BBC’s Masterchef program. The substantial chain has been one of the biggest successes of the shows winners, and you cannot miss Brighton’s very own Wahaca restaurant, which has been towering over North Street since 2016. Arriving for lunch we are shown to our regular table by the huge window looking out on to the bustling North Street.
We immediately warm to our incredibly friendly and knowledgeable waitress as we get comfortable in our seats and she offers to take us through the ever-expanding menu. We explain we are here for Veganuary so she brings us a completely dedicated 100% plant based menu each which has loads to choose from! While we peruse the menu we are given a sample of some tortilla chips with Wahacamole, a fresh, sustainable take on guacamole, made with organic British fava beans, created by Thomasina in response to the environmental and social damage that avocados can cause. It is lovely and creamy with a hint of chilli and a nice zesty finish. I can honestly say I prefer Wahacamole to the real thing!
Let’s begin with our “nibbles” of vegan nachos and caramelised sweet potatoes. The nachos are a superb and welcome addition to Wahaca’s ever expanding plant-based options, made possible with the introduction of Violife Vegan cheese, which has a satisfying gooey texture, and tastes authentically cheesy. The nachos are also generously topped with tomato and avocado salsas which are both lovely. We love the sweet potato’s, which have been on the menu for a couple of years now. They have a lovely golden carapace of crunch, a soft fluffy centre and a sublimely rich smoky flavour to boot. Also great for dunking in the Wahacamole!
From the small plate street food options we plump for Plantain tacos, which combine Lovely sweet and bold fresh earthy flavours to create a dish that is very tasty indeed, soft tortillas topped with chunky sweet plantain pieces, black beans, house slaw and a spicy chipotle salsa. A plate of food that is satisfyingly filling as well as delicious. We also dig into some Allioli mushroom club quesadillas, an irresistible vegan take on Wahaca’s chicken club quesadilla, substituting meat for mushrooms roasted deliciously in garlic and ancho chilli, a devilish combination of fillings which together tasted very naughty indeed.
My main of sweet potato Burrito (with added vegan cheese) and Mexican bowl had everything we love about Mexican street food combined in a delicious wrap which is stuffed so full of Mojo de Ajo glazed sweet potato, black beans, green rice, salsas, and slaw to the point it is a mystery how they were still able to still roll it. The addition of vegan cheese adds a little gooey wickedness to the proceedings which is very welcome. My wife’s Mexican bowl is just as delicious and a great healthier alternative, with crispy tenderstem broccoli, all the burrito fillings, just without the cheese and bread.
Whenever we visit Wahaca we always find room for a dessert of their signature churros and this visit was no different as they are completely vegan right down to the accompanying chocolate shot for dunking them in. I can’t see who couldn’t enjoy these. Well worth squeezing them in no matter how full you think you are, and if you cannot manage them, they keep nicely in the fridge for the morning, so make sure you add them when ordering.
We are always impressed by the quality of food at Wahaca, as well as their laudable commitment to sustainability, which is why we go back time and time again. The inspired plant-based menu is the most varied and most delicious it ever has been, a must try for vegans and non-vegans alike. We will certainly be back for more.
160-161 North Street, Brighton, BN1 1EZ