Location: 9 Old Compton St, London W1D 5JE
Date & Time: 25th February 2016 at 7pm
La Bodega Negra Website
We initially, got a little lost trying to find our way to this restaurant and actually ended up at the La Bodega Negra Café & Bar. As soon as we entered, we were approached by a waitress who informed us that we had made reservations for La Bodega Negra Dining & Lounge. Following her directions we probably walked for approximately 3 minutes before arriving at our verrrrrrryyyy interesting destination.
Now…we were immediately taken back by the extremely eye-catching yet unexpected restaurant front. After playing a bit of eyeball tennis and wondering whether or not we understood what we had got ourselves into, we straightened our coats and entered what looked like a sex shop. After walking through a big black door into a dark foyer with red lights and seductive pictures, we were welcomed by two friendly members of staff. At this point we were reassured, however, still wondered if a table dance would compliment our meal. After a bit of banter with the staff members, they took our coats which we thought was a very nice touch and sent us downstairs where we were greeted by a waitress who took us to our table.
The layout of the restaurant is reminiscent of a tavern, very rustic with dim lights to set the tone. Based on the venue alone, it would be very difficult to guess that the cuisine served is Mexican. The décor, layout and atmosphere was lovely but didn’t really match. The music was good but simply too loud and we found ourselves having to speak louder and repeat parts of our conversation.
It was also quite warm in the restaurant so if you visit in the winter, we would advise you strip off some layers when handing over your coat.
Looking around the restaurant we noticed that the customer demographic appears to be predominately young professionals. The venue is not very child friendly but definitely a good spot for a date night or a catch up with friends.
If you’re not familiar with Mexican food many of the items on the menu will need to be explained. Our waitress for the evening was very attentive and did a great job of breaking the menu down. We would have, however still benefited from a more detailed menu.
LAMB TACOS (served in pairs) £6.50
salsa chipotle (prawns)
HABANERO SOFT SHELL CRAB £13.50
chilito & jalapeño dressing
OVEN BAKED SEA BREAM £29
red adobe & lime
POTATOES, mole negro £5
APPLE AND GINGER FIZZ £5.50
apple juice, ginger beer, lime & vanilla
dulce de leche
The lamb tacos were soooo delicious. The meat was spiced well, succulent, juicy and full of flavour. Slightly messy to eat but so yummy that I didn’t care. I expected the taco shell that it was encased in to be crispy rather than soft, however, it didn’t take a way from how scrumptious the tacos were. (I have now learnt that the hard crispy shell is the American twist on the Mexican dish.) I really enjoyed this starter and reckon one big taco with some salad or chips would make a great main course.
HABANERO SOFT SHELL CRAB and POTATOES
The Habenero was disappointing. The crab was coated in a fried batter, which isn’t very clear from reading the menu. The dish was predominately batter with very little crab. I found that it was way to oily and simply lacked flavour.
I ordered the potatoes as a side to go with my crab but they ended up arriving before rather than with my meal. The potatoes were chopped quite small , lightly seasoned and fried. They tasted pleasant but nothing to write home about. I was told by the waitress that the Mole sauce which came with the potatoes, is a blend of Mexican spices ( not sure which spices ), I couldn’t quite put my finger on the flavour but wasn’t keen on the taste at all.
APPLE AND GINGER FIZZ
The ingredients of this mocktail is what enticed me to try out this drink. I was intrigued to taste the blend of spicy ginger beer, creamy vanilla, sweet apples and tangy lime. This is NOT how they described the drink but that’s what came to mind haha. In reality it tasted predominately of apple juice and reminded me somewhat of apple crumble. It tasted ok but didn’t leave a lasting impression.
I had food envy when I saw what the table next to us had ordered. From where I was sitting the Slow Roasted Lamb Barbacoa looked so tender and tasty. Now that could be far from the truth but I would consider coming back again to try it. Overall I feel that this restaurant was overpriced and wasn’t blown away by my meal choices.
There were six prawns in a tomato sauce, unfortunately I was too eager by the time the food arrived to remember to take a picture, so all that’s there is a lonely prawn by itself. The prawns were big, juicy and tasty but also too salty. I don’t want this to be all bad, but the sauce was way too salty, it also tasted like the prawns had been cooked plain separately and then soaked in the sauce five minutes before showtime on my plate. To be honest, I was too hungry at this point and just devoured the prawns and left most of the sauce behind.
The flavour of the prawns was different, its tomato taste had a slight kick that I just couldn’t put my finger on. The kick isn’t chilli or vinegar, its something but I don’t know what and I’m not sure I was keen on it. Six prawns in this sauce was more than enough. I would like to say maybe next time i’ll figure it out, but that’s a lie, I will not be returning back to order Camarones again.
OVEN BAKED SEA BREAM
On first sight, I thought the fish was wayyyy too small for the price I was going to pay. I don’t know about you, but I was hoping and expecting a fish larger than my arm due to the price, however as indicated by the waitress it was a reasonable size. WELL I was disappointed! It was also too light in flavour for my tastebuds, if you shy awake from spice and flavour with a kick then this fish is for you. I was expecting it to be well seasoned throughout, unfortunately the little seasoning that existed was all on the skin. Don’t get me wrong, the fish was alright inside, I found a little surprise of lemon slices inside. However, I’ve had better and this didn’t give me any memories. I would even like to say that the presentation was wonderful but as you can see from the picture, it’s just the fish (don’t be deceived by the plate, its not that big!). It hurt to pay £29 for this, ahhhh…never again, as Maria mentioned, its unnecessarily expensive and not memorable.
Our thoughts on the churros
Ooooooooooweee the churros were sooo good…mmmmm our mouths are literally watering just thinking about this delightful dessert.
Sweet and cinnamonny, this dessert is great for sharing. Now, don’t get us wrong, all you dessert lovers could easily eat a plate to yourself but it would definitely be sugar overload. The dulce de leche was smooth and warm, which complimented the churros so well. We both 100% loved this dessert.
Overall restaurant rating:
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Until our next post continue to Taste, Experience, Laugh and Live life to the absolute fullest.