Further to my previous post, I have had a proper review from the lovely Kate Bod for the surprising number of people coming here after searching for reviews for newly opened restaurant La Hacienda on Hoe Street in Walthamstow.
I didn’t have high hopes for the new Mexican, La Hacienda, on Hoe Street. Local rumour about its previous incarnation as an Indian restaurant put paid to that. Nevertheless, I’m keen to patronise (and boy can I patronise) local eateries so I booked a table with four friends, one who had come from Crouch End (ouch).
We were shown a table “for five” but an unfortunately-placed table leg at the end would have meant an uncomfortable sit down for one of us. We moved to another table.
La Hacienda is small and cramped and every time a bus goes by, the room is plunged into darkness. “It feels like the end of the world is nigh” observed one of our group.
The lack of tablecloths, placemats, glasses and cutlery, means it feels more like a café than restaurant. Knives and forks were in a basket at the end of the table and there were too few napkins so I had to pinch from other little baskets on other tables.
This is also fashioned as a ‘cocktail bar’ but one look at the bright blue drinks with Del-Boy style brollies and wedges of melon making their way to tables encouraged me to opt for wine. One of our table is with child and opted for a non-alcoholic passion-fruit cocktail which was so sugary it remained intact for fear of her unborn baby’s health. It may have been Sunny Delight.
The service is chaotic. We had to ask for more menus and attempts to order a vodka lime and soda proved futile. Drinks were placed in front of anyone irrespective of who had ordered them as was the food, which meant a vegetarian was presented with a steaming plate of steak. Not good.
Ah the food, I almost forgot. Hilariously, the waitress only knew the dishes by number, which gave it the whiff of a Chinese takeaway. One of us ordered a 69 and then we fell about laughing (word of warning: if you are thinking of ordering a 69 later that night, La Hacienda will not get you in the mood) .
To be fair, the food was the best bit but it took so long to come that we had to wolf it down in 20 minutes (we were heading to the comedy at the Rose and Crown and missed the beginning). Most of us chose fajitas and they came with cheese sour cream, beans and all the trimmings. Mine was steak (£10.95) and the portions were large and could have served two. Although my meat was tougher than I would have liked, it was tasty. While I have a feeling the seasoning was shop bought, the food was the highlight of the night. Most of my group had ordered vegetarian and said the food was not bad but I think that was more in surprise than anything.
So, if they sorted out the lighting, spaced out the tables, learnt the menu, improved the service, asked how the diner liked their meat cooked, it would be a step in the right direction. And I would give it another go. The place was busy so they obviously have the market for it but for it’s got its work cut out if it’s going to attract returning customers.
Thanks so much to Kate for the review – and what a shame that it couldn’t have been a better experience.