Wahaca

Restaurants , Mexican South Bank
  • 3 out of 5 stars
(9 user reviews)
2 Love It
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Wahaca
You’ve heard of living in a box. How about dining in a box? Or, to be precise, eating in one of eight shipping containers, as part of a temporary restaurant? This pop-up Mexican restaurant and ‘dining project’is perched on the terrace of the Queen Elizabeth Hall, with 130 seats spread over two floors as well as outdoor seats (which have the best views of the river, obviously). It’s decorated with graffiti from artists around the world (with Mexican street artist Saner leading the charge). One thing is for certain: Wahaca loves a challenge. Flush with their Sustainable Restaurant Association award, they’re attemptied to build the containers up using as little fuel as possible – no gas, and barely any electricity. To see how they did it, visit their blog.
Venue name: Wahaca
Contact:
Address: Queen Elizabeth Hall
Belvedere Road
London
SE1 8XX
Cross street: Southbank Centre
Opening hours: Open: noon-11pm Mon-Fri, 11.30am-11pm Sat, noon-10pm Sun
Transport: Tube: Waterloo tube/rail
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Average User Rating

2.6 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:1
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:3
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:3
LiveReviews|9
2 people listening
Jo Gowans
Tastemaker

This is undoubtedly a beautiful spot - from your dinner table you can enjoy a pretty unbeatable view of the sunset over the thames. The restaurant itself, though, needs some work. On appearance, it hasn't been updated since opening - or even cleaned. Every surface looked to be coated in a layer of grime, particularly in the toilets which were nearing festival level (although not THAT bad). Our ordering may have been partly to blame, but all dishes were deep fried beyond recognition, and salad garnishes were a day-old looking shriveled affair. 

Ladyvp
Tastemaker

I like this wahaca a lot, but it really hit or miss if you will be able to get a table. They wait times can be up to 45min. When I have managed to eat there it is like any other one of this chain. I like the food but I always leave feeling like it could be better. 

Sam B
tastemaker

I have spent a lot of time and money in Wahaca over the years, but this outlet is dragging the chain down. In fairness, I did eat at the 'taco truck' out on the promenade, but the staff were so bad, it has put me off ever eating at the chain again. 


It took 4 loud 'excuse me's' before I was served, and then I was made to feel like I was interrupting a very important conversation between servers about 'how f'ing busy it was' the day before. I would expect that at a roadside burger van, but not here. 


The food was fine, but served with zero care and attention, which is totally not what the Wahaca brand is about. Big shame. 

Niomi Harris
Tastemaker

The biggest draw of this place is the food. And the unusual fact that it consists of 8 massive shipping containers. But mainly the food, which was a mouth-watering selection of Mexican fare with the mission to tantalize your taste buds. And that it did. With typical dishes including burritos and tacos to quirkier items such as taquitos and tostadas, which ever you chose you’re sure to have a delicious taste of Mexico.

However, the food is where the good stuff ends unfortunately. The main problem is that they make you wait so long. Well over an hour we waited and when we did get a table it was rather cramped and uncomfortable- seriously guys, some seat cushions wouldn’t go a miss! What was really irritating was that I wasn’t allowed to have one of those ‘buzzy tables-ready’ things until my friends arrived which just added to our wait time- meaning we were ravenous by the time we got to sit down.

The queue to get in this place was super long but because it is so achingly cool, people are prepared to wait. And they knew it. Directing people to the bar while they waited was a clever way of keeping those cash registers ringing. I waited along with everyone else to try out this urban Southbank hottie (this was our second attempt to get in), but now I’ve sampled the hype, I won’t need to bother again.

kayleighar
tastemaker

The attraction of the South Bank Wahaca is its location. The unusual juxtaposition of tropical themed shipping containers on the Thames, with great views across the water, equates to having yourself an idyllic evening setting. This also means it’s ridiculously popular, so don’t go when you’re insanely ravenous, and be prepared to stick it out for a free table. 

We ended up waiting well over an hour. This was our second attempt to eat here so didn't expect we’d be seated straight up, but the wait seemed a bit excessive. We were eventually given a pretty small table, and the teeny tiny wooden seats had obviously been pinched from an infant school.

The menu has Mexican classics like burritos and enchiladas or you can choose a selection of street food, which is great if, like me, you’re really indecisive, then immediately regret your decision when everyone else’s dishes are placed before you. We ordered the selection, which was sporadically brought out in an erratic whirlwind of plates, cutlery and waitresses. Food arriving intermittently was fine but it meant one of our orders was forgotten, we had to request it twice more. 

Our small table was stacked high with empties by the time we’d finished filling our faces. The verdicts of the food ranged from delicious to downright odd. The best plate was the summer pea & mint empanadas, but, perhaps due to a cultural ignorance, the warm tostadas topped with cold chicken just tasted weird. Plus our once grinning waitress, who affectionately called us ‘babe’, got very upset when we asked to pay by card. She presumed she wasn’t getting a tip, so snatched back the card reader and melodramatically stormed off in sulky teenager fashion.

Dining at Wahaca can only be described as a bit loco. Probably best for those with a lot of patience. Like saints.

Naomi
Tastemaker

Although we were initially asked to wait in the bar, we were given a table for 9 people within 10 minutes, which is pretty unbelievable considering it was 7.30pm on a weekend night. They were evidently busy, but didn't seem to delay our service as a result. Due to the nature of the way things are prepared here, we did all receive our foods at different times - but that is only natural when such a small kitchen have to serve such a large party! Everything tasted amazing - fresh and yummy! I loved the fact that you could mix and match like 2-4 dishes from the street food menu, so got to try more than I thought! The prices are deceptive for portion size, I guessed a £3 quesadillah would be tiny, but it was in fact 2 giant pieces and I regretted buying so much food - but I took the leftovers away and they made an amazing lunch the next day too. I love the spice of the food and the combos of fillings were slightly unusual, making it feel more special than the mexican food I often make at home! 

Agathe S

Same as below, extremely disappointed by the way they welcome customers. Not only one has to wait over 40 minutes with empty table but the host was terribly rude and impolite. Left the restaurant before eating, thing I have never done before!

Zad

I agree with the previous comment and initially didn't understand myself why they make people wait for 30 odd minutes even enough seats are vacant. In my opinion 2 reasons 1. I noticed whoever was waiting upstairs they sort of bought the drinks from the bar which was probably running because of the waiting customers. So may be a source if extra income. 2. Second reason might be because of their capacity to provide food on every table,?may be they had a limited capacity for serving calculated customers at one time.

Paul S.

Waste of time. Although half the tables inside are empty. They make everyone wait at the bar for 30 mins to be seated. Either very badly organised or an intentionally strategy to waste everyones time. Overall, it gave the wrong impression to many of the patrons including myself.