There’s one restaurant in Birmingham that whenever I hear the name mentioned, the response is always along the lines of: ‘I love that place!’, ‘the food there is amazing’, ‘ahhh, I love their food’, ‘yes, definitely recommend it’. I’ve genuinely never heard anything bad said about this restaurant. Well, apart from the fact that it can be difficult to get a table!
My own response has always been the same too – I’ve never had a meal there I didn’t thoroughly enjoy.
Which is why, when the opportunity came to try out some of the new food and cocktail menu at Bodega on Bennetts Hill, I jumped at the chance.
Bodega updated their menu at the end of last month, introducing some new dishes and items, such as Dr Pepper marinated pork and a plantain salad. In doing so, they’ve taken steps towards a street food-style offering alongside their more traditional main dishes.
Blueberry & Elderflower Margarita
I love margaritas and this is a light, refreshing, sweeter twist on a classic. The flavours go together so well and with a sugar rim (rather than salt), it was delicious.
For those not so keen on tequila and who usually avoid classic margaritas, please give this one a try. The elderflower cordial along with some orange liqueur and fresh lime juice make this version more fruity and not as sharp.
I struggle to find restaurant-made nachos that I enjoy as much as Bodega’s. Made using flour tortillas rather than the usual corn tortilla chips you get served in most places, these nachos are so tasty with plenty of melted cheese and jalapeños. The salsa, sour cream, and guacamole are home-made and are noticeably better than what you’d usually get served in a restaurant – I especially love their salsa as it’s full of fresh chopped tomato.
Dr. Pepper Marinated Pork Burrito
Burritos are awesome. The Bodega Dr. Pepper-marinated pork burrito is even better than awesome. The Dr. Pepper gives the pork a slightly sweet taste and the unique flavour of this fizzy drink sits really well against the Mexican flavours.
The burrito is packed with rice, black beans and cheese and comes with pots of sauce (sour cream, salsa, guacamole) and is hearty and full of flavour.
The price of this dish is also really great value for money as it’s a big as a main meal but priced like a starter (£6.75).
Mole-marinated Chicken Tacos
The serving of tacos apparently used to include 3 tortillas but is now a dish of 4 which I think is really generous for £6.25 (£5.95 for veggie ones). I really liked the mole-marinated chicken and the pine nuts and lettuce gave the overall texture a nice crunch.I do prefer tacos in hard shells rather than soft but that’s just my preference and certainly doesn’t take anything away from how much I enjoyed the flavour of the chicken in this dish. Next time, I think I’d try the mole-marinated chicken in a burrito.
I always appreciate pomegranate seeds in a salad and I really liked the lime and chilli dressing as well as the core salad ingredients (lettuce, cherry tomatoes and avocado). I did, however, feel that it needed a couple more pieces of plantain especially when it’s being sold on the menu as ‘plantain salad’.
Sweet Potato Fries and Mexican Slaw
I’m not a big fan of normal fries but love sweet potato fries. Whilst I find that so many restaurants are now offering these as an alternative and I struggle to find a difference between them, the ones at Bodega are served with a home-made chipotle mayo which is great and a really nice take on a sauce for fries, in keeping with the Bodega flavours.
I love coleslaw but I love my mum’s home-made coleslaw above all else. No other restaurant slaw compares. The Mexican slaw at Bodega though is an excellent variation and is executed very well. Perfect size, chunky cuts of veg with the right amount of sauce and a good chilli kick giving this an authentic and unique taste.
Made with sparkling wine, apple juice, passionfruit, fresh mint and a dash of soda, I have found my new go-to summer cocktail in the Royale Sangria. It was so refreshing and easy to drink – the perfect brunch cocktail to be honest!
Mezcal Gin and Tonic
Whilst gin is definitely my drink, I have mine with soda (I really despise tonic) so I was already hesitant over this mixed drink. I also don’t like the smokiness of Mezcal – it’s just too much for my palate – and it’s this same overwhelming flavour that sits at the heart of the Mezcal gin.
A bunch of traditional botanicals have been infused to create this gin along with some Mexican flavours (avocado leaves, lemongrass, chile ancho and hibiscus flower). The drink was served with orange peel and lemongrass which I think is a great combination but all in all, it just wasn’t to my taste.
I love the food at Bodega and enjoyed the new menu items I tasted. I definitely have dishes I prefer over others but that isn’t to say there’s anything I wouldn’t recommend.
It’s more a scale of ‘like it – love it – can’t get enough of it’.