Wahaca's Southbank Experiment

By Mecca Ibrahim •

We've been getting into a summery & Mexican mood at Great British Chefs & had a delicious enchilada lunch yesterday at our HQ. Recently our Head of Social Media visited Wahaca's new "experiment" on the Southbank serving Mexican market food and their founder, Thomasina Miers, kindly shared a new recipe they will be serving this summer.

It’s not like a Wahaca restaurant that you may have seen before.  Launched during Southbank Centre’s summer-long Festival of the World the Wahaca's new restaurant is perched on the terrace of the Queen Elizabeth Hall, with amazing  views over the Thames.  It's built from 8 recycled shipping containers, arranged in a 2 storey overhanging structure.

Mark Selby, Co-founder of Wahaca says “This is a great experiment for us. Placing eight sea containers on Southbank Centre’s terrace without gas and scarcely any electricity and expecting to open up a fully functional restaurant and bar has certainly caused an extensive amount of head scratching, but over the last 5 years that seems to be what we’ve done best at Wahaca.”

The project will remain experimental, as staff continue to play around with the food and the design of the restaurant. Seasonal Mexican specials will change regularly and Executive Chef, Thomasina Miers (Tommi), is inviting exciting guest chefs to cook alongside her to try out new ingredients and adapt the menu on an on-going basis. 

Tommi has been up to her elbows in new recipes specifically for the new location following Wahaca's recent trip to Mexico and LA. She kindly shares a ceviche recipe (a Mexico City fusion favourite) for us here .

Yucatecan ceviche
I first tried ceviche flavoured with habanero chilli on a beach in Campeche. I was immediately captivated by the fresh, fiery flavour of lime juice and chilli and the delicate texture of the fish. In ceviche, the lime juice ‘cooks’ the raw fish resulting in a beautifully light, delicious dish that is very little work. 
Serves 4
Time: 15 minutes prep + 2 hours freezing and marinating
300g fresh, line-caught sea bass or mackerel, filleted and skinned (about 4 small fillets) or some hand-dived Scallops
juice of 3 limes
juice of half a grapefruit
1-2 tbsp Wahaca Habanero salsa (or more to taste)
½ red onion, finely sliced
1 fresh red chilli, finely diced
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
pinch of salt
4–5 radishes, finely sliced
a large handful of chopped coriander
Spread the fillets in a single layer on a plate and put in the freezer for about 45 minutes.  When they have firmed up a bit, slice the fillets wafer thin, or if you are using scallops, slice them into thin discs and arrange on a wide, shallow serving dish. 
Mix the habanero salsa with the citrus juices and pour over the fish.  Sprinkle on half the chilli and the onion, seasoning well with salt and pepper, and leave to marinate for an hour in the fridge.
When you are ready to eat, pour about half the marinade off the fish, drizzle with olive oil and scatter over the radish and the chopped coriander.
Serve with salted crackers, freshly made tortilla chips or fresh bread to mop up all the fiery juices.  This ceviche is seriously good with a bowlful of refried beans on the side.
Thanks to Tommi for sharing this delicious recipe and you can keep up to date with Wahaca's news by following them on Twitter @wahaca or visiting their blog.
What are some of your favourite Mexican dishes?  Which have you made at home? Let us know over on Great British Chefs Facebook Page.


Mecca Ibrahim

Mecca is Head of Marketing and Social Media at Great British Chefs and has spent the last 10 years at some of the biggest and most innovative internet businesses out there (Yahoo, Just Giving, E-How, Moo.com and Joost). She was winning awards for her blog when most people didn't know what a blog was. Mecca hosts an annual food blogging competition called NomNomNom and runs the multi-award winning London Underground Tube Diary.

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