Whilst it’s no secret that I bloody love indie restaurants & spend a lot of time shouting about the benefits of eating with them (it’s not often that I talk about ‘chains’ on here) – everyone who knows me knows I love Wahaca. They really are one of the best big chains out there, and I’ve been eating with them since I lived in London in my 20s.
I’m now a regular to Wahaca’s Cardiff restaurant on the Hayes. It’s modern yet cosy, set across three floors, with a cracking tequila bar on the top mezzanine level where you can happily wait for a table if the restaurant is full (or just pop by for a few tequila cocktails; if you’re in the area, try the smoky basil mezcalitas).
Award-winning Ethical Eats
The food at Wahaca is always on point (it’s really not hard to see why the chain has become so successful), but what I love most about Thomasina Miers‘ restaurant empire is that with Wahaca, the only way is ethics.
The chain has won multiple Compassion in World Farming awards for sourcing from ‘enriched’ and regenerative farms with greater respect for animal welfare. They’ve won numerous awards for sustainability; including the Observer Food Monthly Award for the Sustainable Restaurant Group of the Year. They also use exclusively British, free range pork & chicken, grass fed beef, and MSC certified Sustainable fish.
In more recent years, they have dramatically cut the carbon footprint of their menu by making it 60% vegetarian, and add seasonal specials to the menu throughout the year. They even created their own ‘Wahacamole’ as an alternative to guacamole; it’s made from British fava beans rather than imported avocados – essentially it’s fava bean hummus, and it’s delicious.
Taking Meaningful Climate Action
A growing number of restaurant chains have jumped on the ‘sustainability trend’ to promote surface level climate ‘solutions’ – whilst simultaneously resisting deeper, more meaningful change. Take for instance, Taco Bell announcing a switch to recyclable hot sauce packets whilst still operating a business model which relies heavily on single use plastics.
Wahaca on the other hand, are not afraid to dig into the big stuff. Earlier this year, they announced they would be taking steak off the menu for the time being, and “are currently in the process of trialing beef from a regenerative farm in Devon and the goal is to have them supplying the restaurants in future.” They also announced that any further expansion of their restaurant empire, would only be undertaken by working with landlords who share their sustainable ethos (read more here).
If more of our big name chain restaurants could follow Wahaca’s lead (instead of relying on gimmicky low-impact initiatives for surface level PR), the high street would be a far more sustainable place to eat.