Bodega, Bodega, Bodega!

Over a month ago, I was invited along to a bloggers event at Bodega. It gave an insight into the new additions that the restaurant has added to their menu and the reasons as to why. I was interested to see what offerings they now had for someone like me, dairy-free and pescatarian (when halal meat is not available), so I went back a couple of weeks after the event. I used to frequent Bodega quite often but I am not sure why it was taken me so long to return to the restaurant. Their burritos are great but my go-to dish was Mahi Mahi fish with Sweet Potato Mash and a Green Chutney but they no longer do that exact dish, so I went on the look out to see what would replace it.

I decided I didn't want a burrito but wanted to try several of the Light Bites dishes, making it like mexican tapas. I chose Vegetable Tacos, Dirty Rice, Mango Salad, Papas Chorreades and Batatas Fritas.

The Vegetable Tacos contain sweet potato, avocado, pico de gallo salsa with toasted pine nuts, and usually sour cream too. Because everything that is made at Bodega is fresh, it is easy for them to adapt most of their menu and the Vegetable Taco dish is one that is easy to adapt to suit any dietary requirement. For gluten-free diets, they replace the tortilla wraps with lettuce wraps, and for vegan or dairy-free diets, they can leave out the sour cream, like the one in the image above. I loved this dish, it is so satisfying, I loved how chunky the avocado was and how it added a creaminess, and how everything worked really well today. It is also great that, even though it didn't include the sour cream, it wasn't dry at all. Perfect for a light lunch or as a starter. I had this at the bloggers event too but it just doesn't get boring.

They spoke about this Dirty Rice dish at the bloggers event, as it is part of the Brazilian Xim Xim dish, but I didn't get a chance to try it. I love paprika and the fact that this rice is boiled with paprika, such a simple idea that was executed really well. This dish is great on it's own and would be great with a curry or with a burrito filling instead of a tortilla. I liked the slight smokiness and the fact they added coriander, my favourite herb, and sweetcorn and pepper chunks to the dish.

The Mango Salad is again a simple concept that has a slight mexican twist to it that is done very well. This contains mango,  baby mixed leaves, sweetcorn, tomatoes, peppers, pumpkin seeds with a raspberry vinaigrette. What makes this salad amazing is the raspberry vinaigrette, it is sweet but not sickly but works wells with the rest of the ingredients in the salad. 

Normally the Papas Chorreadas is served with a creamy cheese sauce but as that isn't dairy-free, they put a mole (pronounced mol-ay) sauce on top of it. This reminded me of patatas bravas, but more Mexican, and I was told this was how they used to serve it. I have to say that this was amazing. You could tell that the potato chunks were freshly fried and the mole sauce was made from scratch from tomatoes. I loved everything about this dish and it is better than the Spanish version in my opinion.

I fell in love with the Batatas Fritas at Bodega many moons ago and have tried to recreate them myself and have tried them in many other places but nothing compares to this original; especially with their legendary guacamole and Pip's Hot Sauce. Crispy yet soft but delicious.

I don't normally have dessert at restaurants, as there is not normally a dairy-free option for me, so I went for it when I had a choice of the Banana Flambe, especially as bananas are my favourite fruit. I didn't regret my decision. I liked how soft, sticky and smokey the bananas were, how the sultanas went well with them and how the lime sorbet was the right amount of sourness to work with the sweetness of bananas.

As you can tell by my very positive vocabulary, I had a great time at Bodega. As well as the great food, the service was also spot-on.

Would I return? YES!

Food - 5/5

Dairy-free options? - 5/5
They have a vegan menu and find it easy to adapt most dishes, plus the staff are knowledgeable.

Service - 5/5
Mick and James served me on the day and they were great. Mick said he is also dairy-free and kosher, so completely understood my dietary requirements. To be honest, I wish I could take him everywhere, as I have never met another waiter that understood me as much.

Cleanliness - 5/5

Location - 4/5
Slightly hidden away on Bennetts Hill but once you know you know, you know?!

Value for Money - 4/5
My meal was £25, which I think it quite reasonable for 5 light bite dishes and dessert of this high quality.

Worth trying? Hell, yes!

Instagram worthy? Ya-huh!

Overall - 28/30

Have you tried any of these dishes at Bodega? Do you agree with my opinion? What is your go-to dish at Bodega?

*Although I paid for the meal myself, the staff were aware that I was doing a review*

Many thanks to Vicky and Victoria for setting up the bloggers event

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