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NEW: Wahaca Coming To The Corn Exchange?

London 'Mexican market eating' chain applies for licence in new 'all-food' Corn Exchange

Written by . Published on October 14th 2014.


NEW: Wahaca Coming To The Corn Exchange?
 

BACK in a 2013 interview, Wahaca co-founder, MasterChef winner and Guardian food writer Thomasina Miers said the Mexican food chain was ready to roll-out.

What's important about Wahaca's plans for Manchester are not so much the food offering - we've got Mexican spilling from the ears - but the brand and the location. They're an 'anchor tenant' for the all-new Corn Exchange. 

Roll-out to where? Well... 'Manchester, Glasgow, Liverpool, Cardiff, Leeds, Brighton and Bognor'... Bognor?

Wahaca, marketed as 'Mexican market eating', already has thirteen (and counting) restaurants in London, the latest having just opened in Brixton, with a new site in Cardiff opening mid-November.

Seems the roll-out is on, and Manchester looks to be next in-line.

The new Corn Exchange - set to open Spring 2015

The new Corn Exchange - set to open Spring 2015The new Corn Exchange - set to open Spring 2015

Following in the footsteps of Iberica (Spinningfields) and Hawksmoor (Deansgate), two major London-operators soon to open their first-non-London restaurants in Manchester, Wahaca are eyeing up a unit in the Corn Exchange and have just applied for a licence.

Manchester's Grade II listed Corn Exchange is currently undergoing a major £30m 'all-food' makeover following a dismal stint from 2000 as The Triangle shopping centre. The re-imagined Corn Exchange, set to launch around Spring 2015, will feature around ten to fifteen restaurants and a boutique 86-room hotel.

So, what's Wahaca about?

Having won the BBC's MasterChef in 2005, chef Thomasina Miers teamed up with businessman and fellow Mexican food fanatic, Mark Selby, to open a restaurant designed around the bustling food markets of Mexico - both having spent considerable time there - which they did in Covent Garden in 2007.

The 'Mexican market eating' restaurant smashed it, and with their modish no-reservations policy had folk queuing around Covent Garden for three hours at a time.

Seven years later and Wahaca are branching out nationwide, while the pair have unveiled a further two Mexican concepts in the capital - Burrito Mama and DF Mexico.

Wahaca, SouthbankWahaca, Southbank

Thomasina Miers (credit To Tara Fisher)Thomasina Miers (credit To Tara Fisher)

Let's talk menu and money...

The menu starts with 'nibbles' (from £3 to £4), such as guacomole, beans and tortillas, and moves onto the mandotary 'street food' (from £3.50 to £5), smaller plates of soft tacos, crisp tostadas and quesadillas filled with slow cooked pork, marinated chicken, char-grilled steak, fish, veg or beans.

'Platos fuertes' (from £7 to £11) are bigger plates (mains, if you will) offering yet more slow cooked pork, marinated chicken, char-grilled steak, fish, vegetables and beans. Sides (from £2 to £4) include spicy slaw, grilled corn and sweet potato fries, there's puds too (from £4 to £5), with festival-favourite chocolate churros and a Mexican tart, she's called Maria.

As you may expect, Mexican beer (£3.65), tequila (from £3.50), margaritas and mojitos (£6), and Spanish wine (£15) are rife across the drinks menu.

WahacaWahaca

Is this a good addition to the city. Yes. Although there's no shortage of Mexican food-outlets in Manchester, actually there's bloody loads: Luck Lust Liquor and Burn, Lucha Libre, Bar Burrito, Pancho's Burrito, Changos Burrito, Chiquito, Las Iguanas...

What's important about Wahaca's plans for Manchester are not so much the food offering - we've got Mexican spilling from the ears - but the brand and the location.

Although former-residents Salvi's and Tampopo have been confirmed for the Corn Exchange's 2015 re-opening, the development has been lacking an 'anchor tenant' - a young, exciting and (soon to be) nationally recognised brand to give the new plans some prestige, some cool, draw the others in.

Wahaca can be that brand. Fingers crossed then, eh?

www.wahaca.co.uk

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35 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

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StuieOctober 14th 2014.

how you can compare the quality of Wahaca food with that of Luck Lust Liquor and Burn, Lucha Libre, Bar Burrito, Pancho's Burrito, Changos Burrito, Chiquito, Las Iguanas...is beyond me. They are not even on the same planet never mind the same city

9 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousOctober 14th 2014.

The only one of those that can hold a candle to Wahaca is Lucha Libre.

AnonymousOctober 14th 2014.

Lucha Libre is one of the worst on that list, only ahead of BarBurrito.

AnonymousOctober 14th 2014.

Lucha Libre is better than LLLB, Las Iguanas, etc. Changos and Panchos aren't really the same type of place. None of them really touch Wahaca.

AnonymousOctober 15th 2014.

Nah luck lust is the best atm, lucha libre is a massive let down

AnonymousOctober 15th 2014.

Luck Lust hasn't been great for a while. £5 for some pretty poor guacamole and a few tortilla chips out of a bag is really pushing it.

AnonymousOctober 15th 2014.

Yeh great, another chain food provider. Generally Manchester is a hub for independant eateries but I tend to avoid larger places as I feel more effort is made for uniformity rather than taste.

AnonymousOctober 15th 2014.

I'd rather eat at a chain doing things well than an indy that doesn't.

AnonymousOctober 15th 2014.

@Anon two above IMO 'more effort is made' in how the server looks and what music is being played in the background than both customer service and taste.

Barry MaginnOctober 15th 2014.

There's a difference between a cynical dreary chain and a decent place that does good stuff well which expands due to its success. When does a place become a chain? 2 outlet, 3, 4 - is AFB a chain now?

Poster BoyOctober 14th 2014.

Concepts. Nothing more. Nothing less.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Barry MaginnOctober 14th 2014.

Have you been to a Wahaca? Everything is a concept. A greasy spoon is a concept. Look up the definition of concept in the dictionary.

AnonymousOctober 14th 2014.

Great addition for Manchester which lacks a real authentic Mexican restaurant. Wahaca will smash it up there. Great food run by a group of operators who are passionate and know exactly what they're doing.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousOctober 14th 2014.

And don't think this is just another standard taco/burrito-dominant Mexican. Exciting and unusual flavours the like of which simply doesn't exist in Manchester.

AnonymousOctober 15th 2014.

Absolute bollocks. I've eaten in wahaca a few times. They're a competent purveyor of Mexican-style tapas. That's it. Nothing unusual, nothing world beating and nothing "unusual" about their flavours. A welcome addition but please don't make them out to be something they're not. Really not worth going berserk about.

AnonymousOctober 14th 2014.

What was that Mexican restaurant called on/off Princess Street? It was a basement location near China town. I went there in '98 and they served tinned chicken in the chicken meal I ordered.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousOctober 14th 2014.

El Macho. Woeful.

AnonymousOctober 15th 2014.

I have been hoping Wahaca would move up north for so long, my favourite casual eatery!

tierneychickOctober 15th 2014.

Mmmmmm they serve the best ice cream - salted caramel and Valrhona chocolate. Can't wait for them to come here!

Jen StanOctober 16th 2014.

couldn't agree more with Stuie. Wahaca is absolutely nothing like anything else in Manchester and to compare it to that list is laughable. The food is another level. Using fresh ingredients cooked with knowledge and flare unlike the amateur grease at LLLB and the others. i'm counting the days until it opens, we've been waiting for it long enough.

Melissa ConnellyOctober 16th 2014.

Brilliant, fresh affordable food. Consistent in the quality, good service and nice atmosphere in my experience at Wahaca. It can only be a good thing for Manchester!

AnonymousOctober 16th 2014.

I'm having problems deciding on how to pronounce Wahaca! What their food tastes like or whether they're going to be a good & welcome addition to Manc land is secondary at the moment!

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousOctober 16th 2014.

Tough one this....wa-ha-ca.

AnonymousOctober 16th 2014.

We need a decent Sushi joint up here! Itsu/Wasabai please!!

3 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousOctober 16th 2014.

Yuzu by Chinatown. Everything is prepared fresh to order and delish!

AnonymousOctober 16th 2014.

The Sushi fashion is so noughties. This week we're all about dirty street food.

AnonymousNovember 10th 2014.

..am heartily sick of dirty street food, the very thought of it turns my stomach...

AnonymousOctober 16th 2014.

The Burrito joint in the Arndale market section is pretty decent. Probably the best of our current options anyway. Looking forward to trying this newcomer.

AnonymousOctober 16th 2014.

Def worth the fuss. Have been many times in London and it does serve good Mexican nosh. I've visited and eaten many times in Mexico... street food, beach food, city restaurants etc and have Mexican family who like the freshness of the food at Wahaca. Most 'Mexican' restaurants you find are tex-mex of the US chain style of food, or over emphasis on the burrito which has a very small regional appeal in Mexico and is really more American than Mexican in some ways. Also, they have some great sipping tequilas considering it is a chain... as complex and expensive as fine whiskies if you want to go there. I'm looking forward to tucking in when it opens.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Barry MaginnOctober 16th 2014.

Agree on all of this. A bit bored of the burrito revolution. Is it just me or can the large wraps, rice, beans et al not get in the way of the delicate flavours and textures of great slow-soaked Mexican meats? Also not very authentic for 90% of Mexico. Uses completely different flour to that used in the real, mini soft tacos that are really delicious with pork pibil and co

AnonymousNovember 10th 2014.

No it isn't...

Traveller2010January 15th 2015.

I have been to a few of the Wahacas in London and love them - great tacos, good servive and amazing hibiscus mojitos! Really looking forward to it coming to Manchester. I actually like Lucha Libre - it's certainly closer to authentic Mexican than LLLB - burritos aren't even Mexican...

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJanuary 15th 2015.

Been disappointed both times I went to Lucha Libre, felt it was poor value, not enough filling in anything. LLLB on the other hand is great and you'll never leave hungry.

AnonymousJanuary 15th 2015.

I have also been constantly underwhelmed by Wahaca. And the bill there adds up, so you end up paying more than is really justified by what you get. However, Pancho's is great, in my opinion, and we are lucky to have it in town. They do a good burrito, of course, but their best dish is their enchilladas which is absolutely brilliant. They will even give you three different meats, one for each of the soaked tacos, if you ask. I lived in southern California for many years and Pancho's is, in my opinion, the closest the UK gets to decent Mexican food.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJanuary 15th 2015.

Agreed Pancho's is great, Chango's never lets me down either but is more limited.

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Anonymous

Agreed Pancho's is great, Chango's never lets me down either but is more limited.

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Anonymous

Been disappointed both times I went to Lucha Libre, felt it was poor value, not enough filling in…

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Anonymous

I have also been constantly underwhelmed by Wahaca. And the bill there adds up, so you end up…

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Traveller2010

I have been to a few of the Wahacas in London and love them - great tacos, good servive and amazing…

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