When you think of Mexican food, you most probably think of belly-bustin’ burritos, chilli that is literally anything but chilly and plenty of hearty beans to keep grandmomma happy. However, beyond this little culinary pocket of westernised classics lies a whole world of magnificent Mexican morsels, which Masterchef winner, Thomasina Miers explored first hand and brought back to Blightly for our dining pleasure. Back in 2007, Miers teamed up with Mark Selby and channeled her edible adventures into a tasty business venture, which goes by the name of Wahaca and now has 19 restaurants across the country. I was lucky enough to be invited to the Liverpool ONE gaff this week to sample the brand new summer menu and I’m here to make you ‘hangry’ with food envy with a little insight into how it went down.

Now usually, when I know I’m heading to a Mexican eatery, I have a little bit of a sulky bottom lip because I am one of those annoying people who ask for the gluten free menu then oggle everybody else’s fabulously floury tortilla wraps with malice. I have to say though, my inner (occasionally outer) tantrums have subsided dramatically since I discovered Wahaca. These guys serve up the tastiest ‘naked burrito’ (everything apart from the wrap, served in a bowl) you ever did sink your teeth into and it’s every bit as seductive as it sounds. Not on the menu but always readily available, Wahaca offer a great selection of GF options for my fellow gluten-dodgers so you never have to feel cheated out of a real Mexican feast.

Devon-crabAnyway, less about that because I’m here to big up the latest additions to the extensive summer menu! So without further ado, let’s talk crab meat, chipotle honey butter and of course, tacos because 2016 is the #YearOfTheTaco after all. The Wahaca menu always takes a bit of reading because there is so much choice to juggle so if you’re feeling super hungry when you arrive, grab something from the nibbles section to fuel your decision-making process. I went with my partner and sharing food is definitely our biggest strength as a couple so we opted for a selection of small plates but if you’re like Joey and simply don’t share food, you’ll enjoy the bigger plates. If you are going to share like we did, I would recommend getting 3-5 small plates between you, depending on how hungry you are. Oh and a side order of sweet potato and frijoles just because they’re so damn delicious.

chorizo-cheese-2In honour of the seasonal menu, I swapped my usual bespoke burrito for the Chorizo & Cheese Tacos, the Devon Crab Tostada and the Smoky Chicken & Avocado Tostadas. I did pick around the tortillas but my gluten-eating girlfriend assured me that they were suitably tasty. The chorizo tacos and the Devon crab are both on the Summer Specials menu and are equally good in their own unique ways. The little chunks of chorizo are sweet with caramelised onion and covered in comforting coating of tangy cheese, while the handpicked crab meat is refreshing and zingy. As crab shellfish novices, we didn’t expect the dish to be served chilled so this is something to bear in mind if you’re after something warming. The chicken tostadas also came cold but were equally sweet and tasty with their fresh slaw and subtle chipotle mayo – a great way to cool down and balance out those margaritas after a long afternoon in the sun.

pineapple-caramel_picmonkeyedWe did initially refuse dessert but then the new pineapple plate caught our eye. What screams summer louder than slices of sweet and succulent pineapple soaked in a dark caramel syrup and served with a scoop of cream vanilla ice cream? We just had to and it certainly didn’t disappoint. If you’re anything like me, your stubborn sweet tooth will always land you in a bit of a sticky situation when it comes to bikini season so this is the perfect way to indulge a little without being too naughty. There was also plenty of other new things on the menu which had us torn, like the Summer Veg enchiladas and ‘British Steak, the Mexican Way’ so I’ll definitely be making a return trip to Wahaca in the near future and I suggest you do the same, sharpish!

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Stephanie Whalley