Review: Marwood x Wolfsmouth Tacos
A gluten-free and vegan taco adventure with Marwood's latest street food pop up, Wolfsmouth.
It was the day before Pride - people were pouring out of work for the pre-parties, glitter was already starting to paint the streets, rainbow flags were flying from windows and we were tucked away in a not-so-secret garden in the middle of The Lanes awaiting an inevitable food coma.
I was with Anna, the editor of Brighton Girl, the garden in question is cared for by Marwood and we were about to devour tacos made by Wolfsmouth, who had planted themselves in Marwood's kitchen to feed us hungry folk.
This bunch of wonderful foodies are taking Brighton by storm right now: mighty Cuban sandwiches at Idle Hands, vegetarian and vegan tacos at Marwood and another illusive pop up is being hinted on Facebook.
But are they worth the hype?
The Menu and Atmosphere
Full disclaimer: The Marwood is one of our main hangouts - to the point where I've been bugging Harry, who runs the shows there, to get Wheat and Dairy Free savoury food for many, many months. (Not that I starve there or anything - I do eat a lot of cake.)
Anyway, needless to say, the menu was right up my street. Every single item on the menu had the ability to be gluten free and vegan (even if it was originally advertised as vegetarian).
And taking over the kitchen at Marwood is definitely the best decision for Wolfsmouth! Harry and Raf, who are the definition of a 'dynamic duo', spoilt us rotten: tablecloth on the table and all.
It should be said here that if you're looking for a La Choza, Carlito Burrito or Dos Somberos vibe for your taco eating Friday nights, Marwoods isn't it. Marwoods is the taco place where you come to eat tacos and have one drink, but stumble out as the doors close because you started drinking their Espresso Martinis too early. (Although, this particular review is actually one of the rare occasions that I didn't do this.)
Whilst our usual drink of choice is a Budvar or an Espresso Martini, our taco review took place when the Marwood team were making some of Pernod Ricard's frozen grapefruit-flavoured Lillet, which we were kindly gifted.
In true food reviewer fashion, I'd best describe this drink as "the perfect pallet cleanser for tacos". I should also add that I was a little sceptical of a grapefruit-flavoured frozen cocktail, due to previous experiences and my general dislike of grapefruit juice (despite my love of the fruit itself). However, this drink was genuinely delicious; not so sour that your cheeks wince into your eyes after the first sip, and not so sweet that you fear you'll need a beer to balance the sugar rush.
Just, genuinely, really refreshing.
Now for the most important part: TACOS.
And here's where the voices of all the reviewers come into play. It's also where we introduce Siala, who works at Marwood and is a really good friend of Anna's. She joined in with the review when we were contemplating defeat.
courgette: Garlic roasted courgette, confit cherry tomatoes, avocado, chipotle cream cheese (a vegan alternative), criolla onions
"Since I am an absolute courgette fan I of course had to eat this one. It was really full-flavored and the garlic and chipotle cream cheese created a beautiful, hearty taste. I must admit that I struggled a little with this one as I lost most of the filling half way, but that did not do any damage to the taste. I can strongly recommend these tacos, but feel like I should give the warning not to do this on a first date. It definitely heightens the risk of making a fool of yourself if you haven't already."
Peach: Roasted peach, whipped sour feta, black olive candy, pickled cucumber, fresh mint, balsamico di modena
"I also got to taste the rather exotic taco from the menu. They usually serve this one with roasted watermelon, but as they ran out it was replaced with peach. I have to admit I was a little wary reading the ingredients like black olives, pickles and feta together with peach, but I have to say my curiosity paid off. It was definitely my favourite.
The fresh mint and balsamic complimented the fresh fruity peach taste but also went so well with the savoury taste of pickles and olives. When they come back to Marwood, I just have to taste the watermelon one and would recommend to everyone to to the same. It was a safari for my taste buds."
Aubergine: Korean miso glazed aubergine, whipped lime tofu, toasted sesame, jalapeno salsa, pickled cabbage
The culmination of flavours in this taco was a little off the chain – you have the earthy aromas of Korean miso, mixed with a whole lot of zing from the lime, jalapeno and pickled cabbage. It was wacky as anything, but it worked. I'm going to be bold here and give all credit to the tofu. I've genuinely never tasted tofu that good before (and I do love tofu). It was fluffy and soft, soaking in all of those different flavours. This is definitely the taco for anyone who's into the zing and really good tofu.
Mushroom: Tempura enoki mushrooms, peanut miso satay, house kimchi, avocado salsa, coriander
Whilst I'll go on about that delicious tofu (whilst trying to figure out how they cooked it so well) to anyone who'll listen, the mushroom taco definitely took the "winning taco" prize for me. It was bursting with flavours and textures that all balanced each other out and the sauce that was created from the kimchi, avocado salsa and peanut miso satay was out of this world. My mouth's watering just thinking about it.
The tempura enoki mushrooms were amazing, too – the perfect vegetable to match that delicious sauce. It was certainly the messiest of all the tacos we tried, breaking halfway through, but it was totally worth clearing all the sauce off my hands (and legs).
Beetroot: Salt baked beets, beetroot ketchup, fermented squash slaw, pickled grapes, peach, dill
Whilst clearing up our empty Lillet glasses, Siala asked us how our review was going. At this point, we were laughing at how optimistic we were that we could eat all 5 tacos between us. They may look small, but they are mighty.
Siala, who's certainly had her fair share of tacos and a whole lot of love for food, offered to help. After she'd finished wolfing the taco down, we recorded her transition to a food connoisseur: "It was well balanced, with earthy flavours, and a nice salty touch in there with the sauce. Good taco, I would eat it again. And the beetroot was delicious – not overcooked, just right."
I gave away Wolfsmouth's approach to allergies way earlier in this review – when you're intolerant to wheat and allergic to dairy, it's difficult to refrain from excitement when you get to review things you can actually eat.
But every Brighton Girl review has a section about allergies, and I'm not one to break traditions (well, I am, but not Brighton Girl ones).
What I'd like to make really clear hear is just how accommodating they were to allergies. They had alternatives to all of their vegetarian options, so I could literally pick anything. All of their tacos were made of corn, too.
On that note, I'd like to say thanks to Wolfsmouth and Marwoods for being so accommodating. I'd say it's a match made in heaven, which is brilliant news considering they'll be permanently taking over the kitchen from Thursday 16th August. You can now eat their tacos every Thursday to Saturday (and maybe Sundays) – I feel a Brighton Girl taco night coming on... who's with me?