Wahaca Southbank - Queen Elizabeth Hall, Belvedere Rd

Mexican Restaurant, Bar, Bars and Pubs, Ethnic Foods, Western Food

Address

Address

Southbank Centre, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Belvedere Rd, Lambeth, London SE1 8XX
wahaca.co.uk

+44 20 7928 1876

Reviews

Reviews

3.9

Based on 201 reviews.

 

Agregated reviews (201) Wahaca Southbank - Queen Elizabeth Hall, Belvedere Rd

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When it started Wahaca was great - clearly on a mission to bring fresh flavours and show us that Mexican food is so much more than burritos and guacamole.
I stopped going several years ago after a visit to Wahaca in Covent Garden where they refused to give me a table until my friend arrived as 'it's not our policy to seat incomplete parties.' This would have gone down better if the place hadn't been empty and had I told them my friend was only parking her bike and I needed to sit down.
When they deigned to give us a table we realised that our waiter was parroting a script focussed on upselling rather than interaction with fellow humans - even interrupting our conversation several times to try and sell us more things. The food did nothing to redeem the experience.
After the theatre this week on the South Bank I was hungry and tired - and I thought I'd give the cheery-looking Wahaca perched overlooking the Thames in converted containers another go.
I wish I hadn't. My heart sank when the waiter said he hoped I was going to 'enjoy my experience' - but not as much as when my food arrived.
My Sonara salad with chargrilled steak in a tortilla bowl was truly horrible. Spelt might be all the rage but it was a mushy, tasteless and porridge-like addition to this salad which absorbed and neutralised most of the underpowered chipotle dressing (possibly a blessing in retrospect).
The tortilla bowl turned out to be a greasy deep-fried batter affair that was so nasty I took the piece I tried out of my mouth rather than swallow it. One tiny sliver of fresh lime couldn't bring this to life - although the helpful and friendly staff said I was welcome to more lime.
It was £10.95 - about the sum I would willingly have paid NOT to have to eat it.
My bouncy and good-natured waiter (the best thing about the place) came off script when I complained and was very loyal to Wahaca. Both he and the charming manager he brought over defended the food and told me that Wahaca is a good company to work for.
I got 20% off my bill - and a determination not to go back. I am not the kind of person who goes into a restaurant to find fault so that I can get my food
'comped' - but I wouldn't have charged for what I was served up.
Never mind - it was a dispiriting 'experience' to find the money men have killed the soul of great concept on the altar of portion control and hard sell.
However, the staff are nice and it's not fair to judge all the food by one dish - I won't be trying it again though.

1 by Clancy Gebler Davies Review source

They lose out on a 5 star due to there ridicoulsly unessaserily complicated seating arrangements. When we arrived we took a seat at a table that was free on the outside although there were still tables available inside it was a beautiful evening and we decided to sit there. We were at the table for a good 30mins and thought there was no table service so went to order at the bar. My son was then told that there was a 45min wait to get a table which was funny concidering we had been sat at one for 30mins and the other two tables that had also been vacant since we arrived were still empty. When he came back and told me this I went to have a word with the manager. He explained to me that we should have introduced ourselves at the front to be seated. I pointed out to him that there have been at least three tables vacant for the period we'd been there. He eventually understood and got us a table.
Nowhere on the outside of the business is this made clear. It is an open plan building with no barriers or signs to direct customers to the front to book or be seated. In fact no sooner had we been seated that another couple walked in from the ourside and to the bar to order and they were told to go back out and wait to be seated. This then happened a further four times whilst we were there, which tells me that this is ongoing common issue. My advice for WAHACA is to use barrier poles with rope connecters on the outside. This will ensure that people know they have to enter at the front and cannot just walk in and take a seat, but still keeping the business open plan. This simple workaround will avoid further seating confusion by patrons. I hope they take this on board because the food is great, service friendly and prices very reasonably.
A 5 star is waiting for you guys

4 by Review source

Meal took place on Saturday 2nd September, group of 5 at 6:45pm.

Short version:
Chaotic service, don't expect to be served simultaneously and some food was lukewarm upon arrival.
However, food was reasonably tasty and pricing seems about right for London.
Cocktails were awesome.
Fantastic location, great buzz to the area.

Initially told we would have a 45 min wait for a table upon arrival, having strolled through the restaurant to the bar we spotted several empty large tables - got seated within 10 mins.

Service was chaotic, the 2 tables next to us ordered after us but recevied their food before us.
Waiters repeatedly tried to bring other tables' food to us.
First meal arrived within 15 mins, everyone else's arrived staggered over the next 30 mins with one of our group's frijoles side arriving 20 mins before the rest of their meal.

I ordered the steak tacos and a side of sweet potato wedges.
The wedges were delicious, really the saving grace of the experience, cooked through with a nice char and well seasoned.
Sadly the tacos arrived lukewarm at best. The portion of cheese was not generous, but what little that was there had congealed and the steak was overcooked - leaving it tough. This was one of those situations where you take 1 bite and it either all comes out or you're trying to tear a mouthful off like a dog.

All in all, pretty disappointing. This food isn't complicated, just felt like there was a massive disconnect between service and the kitchen, I bet those tacos had been sitting around waiting to be served for a good 15 mins.

2 by Sam Hart Review source

Looks like service has gone downhill lately, judging from other recent reviews and my experience last night:
I went to book a table (in person) on Wednesday and saw the guy writing down the booking details. He said all was sorted. Last night I went there for a well-deserved dinner and drinks. To my surprise, the girl at the door didn't have my booking in her list. She said we'd have to wait as there were other people in the waiting list (funnily enough I'd let a couple of groups of people in front of me as I though I had a booking anyway, so basically I got myself a 'privilege' position at the end of the waiting list thanks to being considerate towards other customers). When I told her her colleague had written down the details the day before (and I did read what he was writing, there was no mistake on date/time) she said 'I wasn't working here yesterday, so not my fault, you have to wait'. Seriously? Is that the customer service I can expect from Wahaca? At the very least they could have called (as they'd asked my number when taking note of my booking) to say that there had been a problem with the booking and I'd have been more understanding. I chose not to have a go at this girl, as I know customer service is hard, but honestly, 'I wasn't working yesterday' is not good enough to make someone wait for ages for a table that had been booked anyway.
Southbank is full of other options to eat out with a better customer service.

1 by Review source

We waited for a couple of minutes and although it wasn't too busy/about 50% full, the waiting staff were busy and we couldn't catch their eye, had been waiting so we sat ourselves down. A waiter came over to us when we were ready to order and he told us we were sitting in an area for 6 people and we were only 2 - but instead of reseating us in one the many open tables, oddly he told us to go back downstairs and wait to be seated. When we politely told him we understood, but was it possible to be reseated/move to one of the tables for 2 right next to the table, we got a weird mood change - we were told we could either go downstairs and wait to be reseated or we could leave. We said we found that an abrasive way to be spoken to and indeed we would leave. As we turned to leave, the waiter swore at us. I've made a complaint to the manager.

We went to Las Iguanas next door and had a very good meal. I also want to be fair - this review isn't a statement of the food or general service, and it's a shame because I've been to many branches of this chain and have had very good meals. The one in Brixton has really good customer service and the food is pretty good. But will I come to any branch again? I doubt it sadly; understandably put off for life.

1 by xoxo xoxo Review source

Informal Mexican tapas chain located near major tourist/ recreation hub.

A rather well known food chain in London, Wahaca offers Mexican style food served in a mix of tapas and main course selection that allows diners to share or enjoy individually. Food is generally good, complimented with a vast selection of tequilas, which is rather unique in London and hard to find even in boutique bars.

Very good and tasty vegetarian selection.

Part of this branch has good view of the Thames, even if it is slightly blocked by the trees. Part of the branch is packed in a rather crowded/ buzzing downstairs fast food like area though.

Drinks area is interestingly situated in the deepest upstairs area of the restaurant. Although it has a fantastic set up with a long couch facing the Thames, you will have to awkwardly walk pass the whole restaurant to get to that place.

Staff very friendly, minimum waiting time for weekday dinner is around 30 minutes.

4 by Burton Li Review source

Visited after our trip to London Eye to unwind in the terrible summer heat. The place is generally crowded and if you want a table with a river view, you will have to wait for an hour or so. From bar menu, we tried Corona Michelada, Pacifico Clara, Mojito, Pinot Gris Jean Bid, seasonal cocktail and finished with shots of Don Julio. Stick to Pacifico, seasonal cocktails and tequilas.
For the nibbles, we ordered guacamole with tortilla, chilli Quesadillas, pork pibil tacos, chicken Tonga tacos, huitlacoche empanadas, sweet potato and feta taquitos. And sweet tooth cravings were satisfied by churos y chocolate and coconut crumbed plantain. All the nibbles except empanadas were good and can be ordered again. Though I will suggest to order the Wahaca feast if you have time in your side.
Benji, our server was warm and friendly and though we were the noisy table on the floor, he made sure we had good time.

5 by Rhuddhesh Kirtikar Review source

This is a review of the Wahaca Mexican street kitchen cart and not the Wahaca restaurant at South Bank.
If I could give zero stars I would. I am so incensed by the appalling service and average food I received yesterday evening I feel compelled to write this, the first Google review I have ever written.
I ordered a chicken salad.
Everything was too much trouble: I had to ask for pickle/salsa and there was too little guacamole to offer me an addition to my salad apparently. I asked for a fork to be met with the response 'we don't have any forks'. Eventually a spoon was found - I'm not sure how I was supposed to eat the salad otherwise.
All in all a pretty terrible experience - not worth £6.95 and I certainly would not recommend to anyone else.

1 by Review source

Great service and amazing location.
A different way to serve Mexican food!
We arrived about 45mins before the rush hour and they had no problem seating seven people without a reservation.
We had the sharing menu and we were brought a bunch of plates, all with different and interesting dishes (perhaps not in the best way), over the course of about 15-20 minutes. They had an extensive gluten free menu as well!
Sadly it was a very hot day and since the entire front of the restaurant was opened and facing the Thames it was pretty much unbearably hot even in the slight shade that the ceiling provided.
This worsened the whole experience and with the ridiculously high prices I will sadly not return if I find myself in London again.

2 by Review source

Went on a busy Friday evening so had a wait for a table. Sat in the bar area which was fairly busy. Nice selection of drinks, plus salsa or guacamole and chips as snacks whilst waiting.
When the table was ready, we ordered the Selection, which is a 2 person sharer that comes out when it's ready rather than all at once. One part of the selection was forgotten and we had to ask for it. I personally didn't really enjoy all of the dishes however that was my preference rather than an indication of the quality of the food as everything was cooked well.
I like the option of paying via the App at the end, where you can add the tip and any comments for your server. I'd go again, but would select specific dishes.

4 by Terry Saunders Review source

Amazing food: not just spicy, but well seasoned and mixed. Huge amount of variety, with some great innovation. Lovely service, which is fast. Don't let them rush you through, they're so good that you may feel pressure to eat too quickly, but SAVOUR IT! Often a long wait, but they have a bar for you to wait in with lovely cocktails and great river views, or you can walk around nearby and be buzzed back with one of those smart things. You can pay on an app, meaning no time waiting around for bills etc, although Android Pay in the app would be useful for quicker payment. If it's your first time, get the set menu (although if you don't fancy it, they'll talk you through what you might want).

5 by Dan Simpson Review source

Awful! Booked a table for Mother’s Day lunch, were seated sharing a table with three others - don’t usually mind this on long tables but this was a fairly small table so virtually on top of one another and other tables around us were free the whole time we were there. Cutlery and crockery were dirty, particularly the plastic ones for children. The whole feel of the place was a bit grubby and unhygienic, topped off with tiny unisex toilets. Food was awful - cold and really badly cooked meat. The kids menu wasn’t great - I doubt even adventurous children are gasping for hibiscus cordial! I don’t usually write reviews but this was such a disappointment having enjoyed the Wahaca in Kentish Town.

1 by Review source

Poor experience, arrived at 7.30ish last night, was told waiting time would be around one hour, told to wait at bar, there was a huge queue at the bar with two very slow bar staff, took around 20 mins just to get a drink. Wasn't seated until 9pm after complaining, there were quite a lot of free tables at this point but they admitted to having forgotten us. Food was okay but steak was advertised as medium rare, came out really rare and bloody so sent it back. When eating desert they were still bring side dishes from our main which we hadn't ordered. Got the final bill and they had accidentally added an extra steak meal and sides on the bill. Bit of a joke.

1 by Review source

Food was nice, reasonably priced.. I liked the setting and the views ( shipping containers with glass frontage over the Thames) .. Nice buzz about the place, staff were excellent and on the ball... Particularly our server Sergio who had great energy and always made time to offer recommendations and made sure we were never left without a drink, or waiting for anything... Highly recommend if your looking for somewhere to eat in that area.. And I'm looking forward to visiting other wahaca restaurants to see if they can match this place.. Well done to all for providing us with a great experience on our visit here.. Was just what we needed at that time!!

5 by Graham Oreilly Review source

Fun venue set in storage containers on London Southbank. During busy periods you can expect to wait a while and they have a bar at the rear to wait in. There is one main bar to get drinks but this is small and often has a large queue. Look out for smaller mobile cocktail stalls outside on the edges of the seating waiting area.
Once hailed to your seat by the electronic pager the food is good hearty Mexican style market food and well worth ordering lots of smaller dishes to try and share rather than one main dish. Also try the cooling almond milk drink 'horcharta' to take the sting out of anything too spicy!

4 by Alex Norman Review source

We waited a long time for three of our mains to arrive all at large intervals, the fourth didnt arrive for a while which we weren't sure if it was forgotten or that it was just because that's how Wahaca work! After one finished their main we asked the waiter where the fourth main was, he'd forgot to order it despite four people being at the table. The fourth main eventually came (supprising fast) then was eaten. A fifth main came which was unexpected and the waiter apologies and said we could have it for free, the fifth main then appeared on the bill and we argued with the waiter to remove it.

2 by Carl Dalton Review source

I hate writing poor reviews but I can't in good conscious recommend this place. I've visited a few times before in Westfield and the small dishes like tacos were OK. So to visit at Southbank was a truly disappointing experience. The burrito wasn't heated up and the dough was thick/tasted poor quality. The pork was tough, lacked seasoning. Pinto beans were awful, barely luke warm and no flavour. I was then accidentally charged for guac which is fine, a common mistake but there was about a tsp of guac in the burrito. For the price, it is really shocking they serve this type of food.

2 by Jessica Chow Newman Review source

The food is awesome! It tastes really good and they have a big variety of foods. A few meals are are a bit more spicy than told on the menu but its mexican so its okay. The staff is nice and funny. Dont go to the website to find the local, search for it in maps because on the website the marker is very bad positioned. They dont have real chairs so its not as comfortable as it should be but it fits the ambiance of the container and everything.
Food: 10/10
Portions: 9/10
Variety: 10/10
Ambiance: 9/10
Price: 8/10
I would definately eat there again!

5 by Carbon One Review source

I've been here about 9 times and generally had a good experience. Tonight however, I was left extremely underwhelmed and disappointed. Having recommended it highly to my 3 guests, don't think they will ever take my advice again! Appalling service, the drinks took 20 minutes, the tap water was forgotten entirely, no cutlery on the table and when I asked for some, it never materialised. Dishes we ordered never arrived. Thank goodness we weren't in a hurry! This has always been a restaurant I could trust for great food and great service, sadly, no longer.

1 by Review source

Brilliant food served without a wait. 2 of us went ordered 6 things from the menu and we felt we ordered just right. The food was delicious and the drinks were great.
Service was very good and I would highly recommend this place as part of your day.
We spent aims £45 which included 3 beers and a cocktail. Dishes were between £5-6 each. Great value for excellent food. The atmosphere was vibrant and busy, we waited 15 minutes to be seated, but the guys at the bar are really good and make great cocktails. Totally recommend Wahaca at Southbank

5 by Ben Ferns Review source

Lovely restaurant part of a consistently good chain, with great flavours, ever-changing seasonal menus, fresh ingredients and a healthy feel to it. Excellent service and cocktails too! However, do not be fooled by seemingly empty tables when you walk past. The one annoying thing about this particular branch is that there always seems to be a wait. And when you're told 15-20 minutes, it can often be longer. Get in quick, put your name down for a table, grab your electronic calling device ASAP if you're the first in your group to arrive!

4 by Sonia Fletcher Review source

I called to reserve a table for two at 6.30pm as we would only have an hour before our show began and wanted to be sure of getting served. They told me there'd be absolutely no problem at that time of day and didn't take my name. However, when we arrived that evening we were told there would be a 20 minute wait before we could even get seated and we had to head back out in a snowstorm in the hope of finding somewhere else. There was an available table for 4 but they wouldn't give it to us. Shoddy.

1 by Review source

The food was fine. We had two problems. The food is delivered when it is ready. But I would expect the 'chips and salsa' starter to be brought first not after half the mains were brought. One persons meal was never delivered - we decided it was too late. One other comment was we had two people sharing the Mexican Feast. When an item was brought to the table the waiter didn't know if it was part of the feast or for another person. In summary, the food was tasty but the service was lacking.

2 by Alan Edmonds Review source

I mean, I've had Mexican and Tex-Mex in the Southwest US so it's not sure easy to impress me with regards to Mexican fare. Also, it was strange to me to be pursuing Mexican food in London. But my boyfriend insisted. We were there for Taco Tuesday, where you can get tacos for 1 pound with the purchase of an item from the street food menu. There were a lot of interesting, yummy things on the menu and what we had was good. The drinks were also great.

4 by Suzy Vergo Review source

One of the first branches of Wahaca to open and, in my opinion, the best. It's located in a pile of converted shipping containers in front of the QEH and you get a lovely view over the Thames and the Southbank as you're eating. There's almost always a wait, even at 10 pm, but they will give you a buzzer and you have a drink in their bar while you're waiting. The food is good, made from fresh ingredients and the menu changes regularly.

5 by Peter Claydon Review source

We have always struggled to find a good yet fairly quick spot to grab a bite to eat before a show at Royal Festival Hall, but I think we have found our answer. Last evening we were able to grab some fish tacos and a pork burrito and some guacamole. The service was quick and friendly and the atmosphere fun. But most important it was tasty and quick. You can eat outside by the river, or upstairs inside (which is what we did).

5 by Jay Reilly Review source

I am not a big fan of chain restaurants but Wahaca is an exception. In addition the one in Southbank has just a fabolous location. The casual design combined with really vibrant atmoosphere, light food and excellent service make it a 5 star experience. Food is reasonably priceed, really fresh and tasty. Personally I prefer to choose from the 2, 3 smaller dishes but you have bigger main courses, too.

5 by Ludwika S Review source

We missed our reservation. Despite this, Wahaca staff found a table for us – 8 adults, one little lad and one older boy – within two minutes. The place was amazingly busy, but our table felt pleasantly private. We were served by a very friendly, helpful and attentive bloke. The food absolutely was lovely: fresh, tasty, spicy. The Margaritas were great. We all enjoyed our stay thoroughly.

5 by Alexander James Lovell Review source

Very happy welcome. Food served quickly but you are not in any way rushed. Good offer on the menu at the moment. Love the fact you can pay using the app. which helps if your in a rush or if they're busy. Our waiter was very attentive and apologised when something was forgotten from our plate. The manager then offered us free deserts which was a measure of great service.

5 by Heather Turner Review source

Very average. The food was 'alright', really nothing great. The service was pretty bad the guys throw your Tacos on the table and just move along. Most oft he time you get the wrong tables food. After an hour my food order still didnt arrive and then they had to make sometbing else. We all had serious heartburn and bloating after our meal. Just really not great.

2 by Francois Blignault Review source

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