Wahaca 'pushing boundaries' of sustainable restaurants with recycled Southbank venue

By Peter Ruddick

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Sustainable restaurant association

The latest project for Wahaca, a temporary, recycled restaurant at London's Southbank Centre, will attempt to push the boundaries of sustainable restaurants
The latest project for Wahaca, a temporary, recycled restaurant at London's Southbank Centre, will attempt to push the boundaries of sustainable restaurants
Wahaca, the Mexican street food restaurant concept co-founded by Masterchef winner Thomasina Miers, is to open a temporary restaurant at London's Southbank out of recycled ship containers; a development the company says is 'pushing the boundaries' of sustainable restaurant builds.

The 130-cover restaurant will open on the terrace of the Queen Elizabeth Hall in June and will be built with eight containers leaving a two-storey building with room for a bar, terrace and outdoor seating. Although the structure will be temporary a spokesperson for the company confirmed Wahaca were hoping to operate on the site for around two years.

Wahaca, which now manages seven sites across the capital, is renowned for its commitment to the environment in fitting out its sites and sourcing ingredients.

The business was named Sustainable Restaurant Group of the Year at January's Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) awards​ and in March the Bluewater site became the first restaurant to be awarded a silver Ska rating from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)​ for a sustainable fit-out.

Fifth birthday

The ambitious development will be part of a year celebrating the fifth anniversary of the founding of the company - Wahaca will also open up a site in the former Marlon Abela Restaurant Corporation (MARC) site on Charlotte Street​ in August and has launched a new range of sauces with a book to follow later in the year.

Mark Selby, who co-founded Wahaca with Miers said the Southbank project was a great experiment for the company - the menu will be seasonal and change regularly, guest chefs will be invited to cook and try out new ingredients and the staff will continue to regularly modify the restaurant design.

"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 five years that seems to be what we’ve done best at Wahaca," he said.

Festival of the World

Wahaca will not be the only temporary restaurant to launch in June at the Southbank - a pop-up restaurant headed up by chefs including Sat Bains and Tom Kitchin will open on the roof of the Royal Festival Hall​ in the same month.

Both projects are part of the Summer Festival of the World event at the 21-acre Southbank Centre although unlike Wahaca The Cube by Electrolux will only be open until September.

Art installations will feature as part of the festival and Wahaca will be working with the Bristol-based graphic designer Tristan Manco to select a number of graffiti artists to decorate the new restaurant. Mexican street artist Saner will also be flying in from Mexico City to create a series of 'striking murals' on the site.

Related topics: Business, Events & Awards, Restaurants, Venues

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