I met a friend for lunch this week - an old work colleague - and when we were deciding where to go we settled on Wahaca in Covent Garden. Partly because it was convenient for both of us to get to, and then to get where we had to go next, partly because we like the food and partly for Auld Lang Syne. We first went to Wahaca about a week after it opened, in 2007, and have been eating there both together and separately ever since.
Over those five years it has improved. The service is no longer kooky, but still warm and friendly and some elements that had erred on the side of blandness have been pepped up (the bottled sauces they are selling in supermarkets still lack flavour and fire though).
I then ordered two types of quesadillas. This was a bit excessive, I admit. I comforted myself with the thought that I was heading to dance class after lunch so I'd work some small portion of it off.
The chorizo quesadilla - deliciously stuffed with soft mashed potatoes, chunks of Mexican-style chorizo and cheese - is an old favourite. But then I couldn't resist an item on the specials menu, a chilli quesadilla. I don't think they've had a specials menu before, but this was certainly a good one. It was billed as a mix of jalapeno, habanero and another kind of chilli with two kinds of cheese and the waitress was very careful to warn us how hot they were. I don't go in for combat-eating, so I genuinely wasn't showing off when I ordered it, I just thought it sounded good.
It was hot. Runny-nose-and-sweating hot, but not ear-wax-melting hot. Not so hot that the flavours of the different types of chillies were lost, not so hot as to be uncomfortable. I did have to ask for a glass of water though.
I love this place. It's a chain now, although this is the only branch I've been to, and it shows that a chain doesn't have to be a bad thing. Anyway, I could find fault if I wanted to, but I don't so I won't*.