The highly successful Mexican restaurant group Wahaca has opened its doors in Southampton in the city’s new leisure district: West Quay Watermark.
West Quay is set to be Southampton’s new leisure hub that will provide new dining and leisure facilities for the public to enjoy. Work began on the 76,200m2 new leisure district in January 2015 to create the centrepiece of Southampton City Council’s VIP ‘Heart of the city’ project.
Hammerson, owners of the shopping centre, secured numerous restaurants in its £70 million development in Southampton including Wahaca. This is the Mexican restaurant’s debut in the city of Southampton and will be located in the upper level of The Watermark.
With new restaurants on the ground and first floors of WestQuay, Wahaca Southampton will make a great addition to the already vibrant atmosphere of the new plaza.
The new Southampton site will be 291m2 in size which will permit it to house up to 190 covers.
Co-founder Thomasina Miers commented, “We cannot wait to dish out proper tacos and tequila to the good people of Southampton. It’s a city with an incredible history, amazing sense of culture, and importantly, knowing how to enjoy itself. As we’ve expanded across the UK, Southampton has remained top of our list of places to be so we look forward to getting stuck in.”
Wahaca, first opened in 2007, is inspired by the cantinas found in the street markets within Mexico which co-founders Master Chef Winner Thomasina Miers and Mark Selby fell in love with. The fresh and honest Mexican market food has proven a hit across its many sites around the UK.
The design that features across all Wahaca venues uses the simplicity and freshness of their menu as its basis. Like all of their restaurants, Wahaca Southampton’s interior also took inspiration from the Mexican street markets using material and colour palettes that are usually associated with these external spaces. This then creates a unique space for each restaurant allowing customers to enjoy their individual characteristics whilst still having an overall Wahaca feel. These site-specific designs reference the environmental and street art of the districts of Mexico, creating a journey for customers to follow.
The Southampton site will also feature artwork from street artists Octavio Alegria from Guadalajara, Mexico and Ester Del Prado from Bilbao, Spain. Known together as Alegria Del Prado, their striking, oversized murals portray the natural and modern worlds with a celebration of nature through mystical characters and surrealist themes.
All menu ingredients are locally sourced or grown and transported with care for the environment in order to create the delicious dishes Wahaca is known for. The restaurant group has won numerous awards for quality sustainability and design. Due to its care, Wahaca has been certified as ‘Carbon Neutral’ by Natural Capital Partners becoming the first restaurant group within the UK to do so. Co-founders Mark Selby and Thomasina have won the Catey award for ‘Restaurateur of the Year – Group’ as well as the 2015 Catey for ‘Sustainable Business Award.’ In 2012, 2013 and 2016 Wahaca were also named SRA’s ‘Sustainable Restaurant Group of the Year’.
Flying the flag for Mexican food and drink, Wahaca uses traditional artisan mezcals and tequilas that are handpicked as mainstays on the menu. Their cocktails blend much-loved Mexican flavours like Passionfruit with the best tequila to create truly delicious drinks that go perfectly with the food on offer.
The menu for Wahaca has been created by Thomasina and Mark, and is constantly changing to feature different seasonal dishes. The food itself includes a selection of sharing street food such as the signature ‘Pork Pibil Tacos’ and a Mexican take on Japanese Sashimi in ‘Mexico City style Salmon Sashimi.’
Larger dishes are available for those not wanting to share and include dishes like ‘Mexico City style Chicken Enchiladas’ and ‘British Steak, the Mexican Way.’ Sides are offered as well such as ‘Frijoles,’ ‘Spicy Slaw’ and ‘Corn & Bean Salad.’ Deserts include the Mexican classic churros with chocolate, coconut-crumbed plantain and a range of ice cream and sorbet.
Red Source Interiors
Red Source Interiors is a contract furniture, bespoke interior lighting and décor agency providing a variety of unique creations for various industries. Red Source Interiors has worked with a number of high profile clients in addition to Wahaca including Montcalm Hotels, G1 Group, St Austell Brewery, the new Lockhouse in Paddington and a long list of sites for The Draft House.
The company worked alongside the design team for Wahaca Southampton, situated in the Westquay Shopping Centre, to make sure the right internal and external furniture was created to match the design and operation of the restaurant, ensuring it complied with the company’s FSC sustainability principles.
Director Claire Reynolds commented:
“As a company we pride ourselves on being at the forefront of design and technology, quality, delivering on time every time and building meaningful relationships with clients.”