If you’re local to Birmingham you’ll know by now that Bodega is a firm favourite in most of our hearts. It ticks all the boxes: good food, good drinks and always a good atmosphere. It also makes a real effort for its veggie and vegan diners, making it a real crowd pleaser whatever the dietary requirements of your group. So, when I was invited down last week to try out the new menu, I was looking forward to seeing what this beloved South American Cantina has come up with now.
When I arrived there were already plenty of bloggers tucking in to plates of Bodega’s famous nachos. If to you nachos mean small triangular crisps, you need to get yourself down to Bodega and have your mind blown. Someone on Twitter described them as #LifeChangingNachos and I’m not going to argue with them. The only way to describe them is fried triangles of goodness, covered in cheese – sounds good, no? We washed these down with an elderflower and blueberry margarita. We all have cocktails that we think don’t need messing with, which is the case with margaritas for me, but if you’re going to add new flavours to this classic then it was done really well here – still keeping that bitter sharpness.
We then tried some of the new dishes on the menu: new burrito and taco combos. I tried some veggie burrito with black beans and dirty rice (with a little heat). This was everything I’ve come to expect from Bodega – crammed full of flavour and served with reliable accompaniments of sour cream, salsa and guac. The roasted veggie tacos, which are also suitable for vegans, went down well, though some of the veg was a little under-done. Perhaps most exciting is the fact that the new taco portions are now more generous than previously – this is very good news considering my only gripe with Bodega was that you never seemed to get an awful lot on your plate.
Those who weren’t driving moved onto a couple more cocktails. I had a sip of the mezcal gin and tonic, which is made with mezcal gin, fever tree tonic and garnished with orange and lemongrass. I won’t lie, this was not exactly a crowd pleaser – I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to drink a whole glass, and it seemed that was the popular opinion judging by the left-overs at the end of the night. I did however seek out the opinion of someone who I know to like particularly strong cocktails, and it had certainly gone down well with him, so if you’re partial to such drinks then it’s probably worth a try.
Finally we tried the plantain salad. This is another vegan dish on the menu, but sadly was a bit of a let-down. I don’t know how I feel about cold plantain, so there’s that, but I do know how I feel about hard plantain, and it’s not great. These mains were served however with Bodega’s spicy slaw, which was spot on, and their sweet potato fries, which I still haven’t managed to not order whenever I’ve been, which is a lot.
Overall, I’m pleased to say you can still expect the same good food and drink from Bodega, even if things were a little hit and miss on this evening. The hits will always be worth going for, and now that they’re serving larger portions, there’s all the more reason to visit. Thanks to Vicky and everyone at Bodega for having us, I’ll definitely be back for more #LifeChangingNachos soon!