Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Wahaca - mighty steak burrito is the new workman's lunch

La burrito, Wahaca's most popular dish  (photo by Linnie)

Address: The Park Pavillion,
40 Canada Square
London E14 5FW
Phone: 020 7516 9145
Nearest Tube station:
Canary Wharf

Ratings (out of 5 *)
Price: below £10
Service charge: N/A
Taste: ***
Service: ***
Ambience: ***
So here I am again - the clock strikes one and it's lunchtime. The thing about working in this part of London is that you are never short of places to eat in Canary Wharf. From sandwich counters to pan-Asian cuisine, from high street Italian and French chain restaurants to pubs, there is bound to be something that fits your fancy and budget.

Of late, I'm into Spanish food. Well, truth to be told, it's mainly because of the chilli. I've been told (yet again) to watch my waistline and I read somewhere that having chilli with your meal helps burn up the calories at a faster rate. Curries aren't exactly the answer; the cream used in the dish just clogs up the arteries. Chilli doesn't feature much in cuisines in this part of the world, which doesn't leave me with much of a choice.

It helps that I can conjure up some simple recipes in the comfort of my home with black beans, tortillas and some ready made spice mix (why reinvent the wheel?). Dishes such as beef and baby corn tostada requires only minutes to prepare are always crowdpleasers. You have a bit of everything and more importantly, the chilli to burn up those sinful calories.

Where was I? Ah, lunch. So there I was, gunning for some chilli. It didn't take me long to decide. Minutes later, I am at Wahaca. The trick is never turn up at 1pm or be prepared to join the queue that can take up to 15 minutes just to get seated. The saving grace for that is that you are handed a beeper and urshered upstairs to a waiting area which doubles up as a bar. With a commanding view of Canada Square Park and a foosball table to boot, it's easy to forgive Wahaca for the wait.

I don't even have to look at the menu these days. British steak burrito (£6.95) with baju cheese (+60p), period. Succulent steak strips, frijoles, a smatter of avocado salsa and bulked up with green rice, all wrapped in tortillas. The best part? Wahaca toasts its burritos after they are wrapped. The melted cheese within is pure delight. That with copious amount of chipotle salsa always puts a smile on my face.

Wahaca's burritos have gathered such a large following that it has a street van right smacked in the north side of Canada Square Park, a mere fifty metres from the restaurant. Likewise, a queue builds up during lunchtime, rain or shine. I am always bemused by that; surely those in line are aware that there is a takeaway counter within the restaurant itself with a much shorter wait?

The only blot on Wahaca's Canary Wharf branch is that it seems almost tired during dinner time. The burrito that I had for dinner was cold and the steak almost dried. It made me wonder whether it was a leftover from lunch. While I would look elsewhere for dinner, Wahaca remains one of my favourite lunchtime haunts.

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