Wahaca on Charlotte Street is the latest in London's seemingly endless Mexican restaurant wave. It's also the eighth branch of Masterchef alumnus Thomasina Miers' burgeoning mini-empire, and to keep things interesting the owners have introduced a few new things to tempt Fitzrovians through the door: a late-night mezcal bar, a takeaway lunch counter, and a breakfast menu.
Dining at Wahaca can occasionally be a tiring experience (it's one of those restaurants where eager-beaver staff will often ask ask "have you been here before?" then attempt to "explain" the menu), but the waitress on our early morning visit was relaxed, letting us order without interference and making a few recommendations when asked. It was a quiet morning, which might have helped.
The breakfast lived up to the early promise. The huevos rancheros were excellent: eggs served on blue corn tacos (a protein- and antioxidant-rich variant of the familiar yellow ones) and liberally spread with a green tomatillo salsa that had a snap of heat to it (a side order of avocado helped to temper the piquancy). Less impressive was the breakfast burrito — a heaving flour tortilla stuffed with egg, spinach, cheese and bacon — which was a little bland, requiring liberal dashings of habanero salsa to elicit any kind of response from the taste buds. Other items on the menu include a breakfast torta (a sandwich made using a hollowed-out brioche bun stuffed with ), "Mexican eggs" (scrambled with onions, chili and refried beans) and baked goods including donuts and banana bread.
Wahaca has competition in the local area, not only from established Mexican fast food places like Benito's Hat and El Burrito, but from the many other restaurants that line Charlotte Street. Yet by serving a good, well-priced breakfast, and doing it early (opening at 8.30am Mon-Fri) the newcomer has made a promising start. If they can keep the service sweet and simple when the crowds move in, then we could easily become regular visitors.
Breakfast for two, with two mains, a coffees, an horchata (a rice-based cinnamon flavoured drink), a side of banana bread and service, came to around £18.
Wahaca is at 19-23 Charlotte Street, W1T 1RL.