Wahaca + Tayabbs

Both of the following restaurants were recommendations received via twitter. The first came from @Simon_Ki (who happens to be my brother) and the second from @SimonMajumdar who recommended Tayabbs. When I told my brother I was coming down to see him, he suggested we make a first venture out to Brick Lane for a curry. Now I should say we come from Bradford so we have had a fair share of curries both excellent and poor, so we were both looking for something to match the best of home. We don’t know Brick Lane at all so I sent out a tweet asking for recommendations and @simonmajumdar (author of Eat My Globe) suggested that we venture just off Brick Lane and try either Tayabbs or Needoo Grill. We opted to try the first and once we arrived we found it packed, even at our relatively early hour. Thankfully we only had to wait five minutes and the service was fast, the food we ordered arrived very promptly, almost all at once, which for me was fine but my brother would have liked a bit more separation.

We started with two kebabs (I forget which type I think it was the Seekh) and an order of the lamb chops. I loved both of these dishes, and actually preferred them to the mains. The kebab was tender and quite mildly spiced but perfectly so. The lamb was my kind of food, spicy and meaty. Im not normally one to get in there and chow down on the bones but something about the lamb slathered in that spicy marinade made me get in there and clean those bones as of much meat as I could.

The mains unfortunately were not as good as we were hoping. I ordered the “dry meat” a dish heavy on the cumin. It’s a very meaty dish and I love cumin but there was little else going on and that would have been fine but the meat, well, it wasn’t great. It had quite a lot of chewy fatty bits that got stuck in your teeth and whilst you can expect some fat they’re just seemed a bit too much to us. The second dish we ordered was Kahari Gosht which my brother thought was very nice, not too hot or overpowering, unfortunately again there was too much fat making the dish quite chewy. I only tried a little of this and it was fine but I didn’t think it was as good as my brother. We also ordered a Paratha and a Naan and they were okay but didn’t taste as fresh as we would have liked, definitely drier than it should have been. We both agreed that nothing was terribly wrong but all the little things meant it wasn’t a great meal.

Oddly as we were stood outside another group exited from a different door, they didn’t know we had just dined at the same restaurant and actually suggested we avoid going in. They seemed very disappointed with their experience. For me personally I felt it was a meal of two halves. I thoroughly enjoyed the starters but was let down with the mains. If me or my brother lived closer we would go back and give it another shot as it was clearly popular so maybe we had a bit of an off day who knows. I think ill stick to Bradford for my curries in the future for the time being.

Originally this was supposed to be a review for the new Soho restaurant Polpo but when I arrived, to an almost empty restaurant, I was told they were fully booked so a bit downhearted, as Id been eagerly awaiting those dishes for a couple days, headed to the only other suggestion that I could recall being nearby, Wahacca a Mexican street food restaurant run by Tomasina Myers, she of Masterchef fame.

Tacquitos were definitely my favourite dish having the strongest and best flavour, although they were also the most fiddly to eat as they are deep fried until very crisp but definitely the most flavoursome what with the mixture of the chicken, which was very moist, the smooth crema and the salsa which made the dish quite bright. Whilst I was happy with this the other two were not as successful for me.

I went with the Black Bean and Cheese Quesadillas as my second choice which with hindsight was not a great choice. By its nature this was going to be a bit heavy and slightly stodgy – I mean it’s refried beans and a mix of mozzarella and cheddar. If my other dishes had been lighter I may well have enjoyed this more but as it was it needed some of the condiments they came with it to give it some more flavour and lift it a bit.

The Tacos were only off by a teeny bit. I love heat and spice but I found the flavour in the tacos a little underwhelming, which is a shame because I really wanted to like these. With a bit of heat I would have loved these, the tacos were soft and tasty and the meat well cooked all I wanted was a bit more spice. Oddly one of my favourite things wasn’t even food, but a drink. I tried the Horcharta a dairy free almond and rice drink with cinnamon and it was so refreshing and light, I loved it (pictured at top of this half). Overall I think I would go back again and try some more, I left full and relatively satisfied and having only paid under £15, all in, it wasnt expensive and I would like to try some different things.

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2 responses to “Wahaca + Tayabbs

  1. Hmmm, that’s the second so-so review I’ve read for Wahaca. I had been keen to go, but now I’m not so sure…

  2. I love Tayaabs; I uesed to live around the corner whilst working at the Royal London Hospital and we would go for lunch there once a week ! Evenings and weekends are very busy (I used to get take aways and walk past the long queues); but haven’t found anywhere that does a chicken saag or tikka masala which is as tasty, spicy or more authentic tasting. I also really miss the very hot red chutney which over the years could eat more and more of. Now trying out Manchester’s curry offerings 🙂

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