Disclosure: I was invited to sample the new menu at Bodega in Birmingham. The opinions below are my own and unbiased.
The Bodega restaurants in Birmingham, Worcester, Leicester and Derby serve an exciting mix of South American food and drink. It’s a couple of years since I last visited Bodega, so I was very happy to accept a recent invitation to sample their new menu.
Bodega is right in the middle of Birmingham city centre, so it’s ideal for a mid-week dinner or to break up a busy shopping day. When I arrived at the restaurant, I was directed down into the Sugar Loaf bar in the basement of Bodega. Louisa, the bar manager, was already hard at work mixing up cocktails to greet the bloggers as they arrived.
Bodega has a very well stocked bar with tequilas, rums, mezcal and cacacha. They also serve a great selection of Spanish and South American beers, and of course soft drinks as well. Louisa was going to be mixing up three different drinks throughout the evening to accompany our food.
The first drink was a very pretty Blueberry and Elderflower Margarita. It looked absolutely gorgeous but as I was driving, I thought I’d better stick to the soft drinks. Louisa kindly mixed me up a really fabulous mocktail which was sweet, minty and totally delicious!
We were seated around small tables, and soon got chatting to each other, as bloggers always do. The lighting in the Sugar Loaf bar is quite low key and atmospheric. It’s a great place to relax with a drink, but I did struggle a little with my photography!
While I chatted with the bloggers around my table, we tucked into a delicious plate of Bodega’s amazing Nachos. In many places, ‘nachos’ means a plate of Dorito’s with some dips and cheese. But Bodega make their own nachos from tortillas, and they are absolutely amazing. A dish of fresh guacamole, salsa and sour cream accompanies the nachos, which are topped with cheese and chillis.
They’re probably the best nachos I’ve ever eaten. Seriously, a plate of these and a nice cold lager would be very close to heaven, even on a cold Birmingham evening!
Next we were talked through some of the items on the new season’s menu. The burritos are available filled with shredded chicken, home-made chilli, slow-roasted brisket or my favourite, Dr Pepper marinated pulled pork. Don’t be alarmed – the pork doesn’t taste of soda pop. It just has a sweet, sticky warmth that is very more-ish. There’s also a vegetarian burrito filled with plantain and lentils. Whichever filling you choose, you can opt to have your burrito stuffed with plain rice or dirty rice, which has added spices and beans.
I really loved the taco selection as well. Bodega serve soft tacos, not the crunchy ones that shatter into a million shards when you try to eat them. I definitely prefer this kind and I also love the cute green serving dishes that they come in. Bodega tacos are filled with either Dr Pepper pulled pork, shredded chicken, Baja-battered mahi-mahi fish or black beans and roasted veg. I can definitely see why the tacos are a best seller!
We also sampled the Plantain salad with its zingy chilli-lime dressing, and the sweet potato fries. I remembered the fries from my last visit, and I’m happy to say that they are still as delicious. They’re served with a chipotle mayonnaise which is just the right level of spiciness for me.
Louisa mixed up some jugs of Sangria Royale to go with this selection of food. It’s a mix of sparkling wine, apple juice, passionfruit, mint and a touch of soda. I don’t usually like passion fruit, but I had a taste of this drink and was really surprised at how delicious it is. It’d be perfect to share with friends on a gorgeous spring afternoon.
While everyone was enjoying their food, I took a look around the decor in the bar. The restaurant itself is decorated in bright, warm colours and looks very inviting. The walls downstairs in the bar are covered with artwork like the sugar skull you can see at the top of this post. There is also a large mural which covers two wall in the bar, full of South American imagery. This is definitely the place to come and relax with friends over some good food and drink.
Finally, we were called to the bar to watch Louisa mix up the last drink of the evening – a Mezcal Gin and tonic. I’d grabbed Louisa for a quick chat earlier in the evening. She had explained to me that Mezcal is a Mexican drink that is made from the Agave plant – tequila is actually a form of mezcal. It has a very characteristic smokey flavour, and Bodega use Mezcal from the north of the country. It is triple filtered to remove harsh flavours, and has a smoother flavour than Mezcal from the south. There are no worms in these bottles!!
The Mezcal gin is infused with juniper, angelica and coriander and then topped up with tonic water and a squeeze of lime. I had a little sip and it has a smokey flavour that reminded me of a peaty single malt whiskey. It’s one of those ‘Marmite’ flavours that you will either love or hate. I think I would probably fall into the ‘love’ category, but only if I wasn’t driving – that drink certainly has a kick!
The evening flew by, and all too soon it was time for me to head back up to Shropshire. But I know that I’ll definitely be calling into Bodega again before too long!