Monday, 30 September 2013

TTN Visits: La Bodega Negra, Old Compton Street, Soho

Good friends that The Boy and I hadn’t seen in 2 years (we are evidently bad friends), had finally managed to offer us a date to meet up for dinner that we could do. There was a small challenge ‘take us to a restaurant in London with a USP’ - that’s Unique Selling Point to the average person.

I spent ages thinking of somewhere that had something different but somewhere that would suit everyone. As you can’t book for tables under 6 at ‘Dishoom’- I settled on ‘La Bodega Negra’ and I was really looking forward to eating a Mexican hidden away under a sex shop façad!
The frontage had the desired effect, our friends went very quiet as we casually walked into what was a dark waiting area. There was plenty of ‘are we seriously going in here?’ as we walked in. USP met!

The actual dining area was great- like being in a candlelit Mexican cave. We were shown to our booth and a friendly waiter greeted us, we ordered a cocktail- mine was a ‘Watermelon Lush’ which I believe contained vodka, watermelon juice and crème de muere. Delicious.

Now, this is where I start to moan which is very early on during my review, the friendly waiter very quickly turned into a pushy salesman who insisted that as the menu was predominantly tapas sized that we must order more. When we tried to suggest that we might want to order as we go, we were quickly told that it would be a 40 minute wait for food and we only had the table for 2 hours so we should order everything once! I didn’t want to cause a scene in front of friends, after all we were all together to do some serious catching up, no objection came out. We ordered 3 mains, 2 rounds of Tacos, 1 Quesadilla, 2 sides and some Guac & Chips.

One thing the waiter did have right about was the portion size- it was unnecessarily tiny. The tacos were miniscule! In Wahaca- one of my favourite places to eat- you would get 3 for half the price! I didn’t even get any Guac as there wasn’t enough given- and I don’t think the 8 chips were going to satisfy all 4 of us!

The meat was cooked very nicely – with the ribs tasting and resembling Lamb Shank. The Rice we ordered as a side was delicious and I could have done with more, the Quesadilla was nice and spicy but everything else was just bland! There were no condiments at the table or on offer which would have given me some flavour to work with- unless you count a tiny pot of salt flakes at the table!

 The vibe was very cool though- dark, candlelit with some awesome music to boot.

The Margarita jug (which was a whopping £68!!!!) was pretty tasty, and I don’t like Tequila really. The only thing that ruined it was the waiter pouring our drinks for us, even though our glasses were nearly full, then whipping the jug away! The waiter also took away half a bottle of sparkling water that I was enjoying!!!! (this is a pet hate of mine- until I ask or acknowledge- do NOT clear my table! It makes me feel rushed!).

I feel a disappointed with La Bodega Negra. Being pushed to order more food when we didn't need to, plus food that was bland, was not what I expected. I didn’t expect the massive price tag either- not for those portions. If I want big prices for small plates I would have taken us all to a more formal surroundings where you also get the great service

I would however, after all that moaning, recommend LBN as a place to go for a drink. The vibe is seriously cool and add a few of the delicious cocktails then you are well on your way to a cracking night out- just maybe don't bother with the food!

This weekend I think I will do some home cooking – to give my poor bank balance a break!
Have I just been unfair or have people had similar experiences?


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