la bodega negra
Twitter has been ablaze with talk of new Mexican La Bodega Negra (from Will Ricker of Eight Over Eight and E&O) and I couldn’t resist sneaking in a visit before leaving for NYC tomorrow for a few days of serious feasting. The main restaurant (accessed via a Sex Shop entrance on Old Compton Street) has yet to open but the ground floor taqueria and café has been operating for about a week. Having heard good things about the cocktails I went straight for the drinks menu and ordered a Hibiscus Margarita (delicious!) before perusing the compact menu, which although shorter than expected, had a decent selection.
Our waiter recommended we start with Tostaditas so we ordered one of each on offer – Avocado with Tomato and Queso Mexicano, Tuna with Chipotle, Avocado and Jalapeño and Duck with Pipian Verde. The avocado was fresh and light, the duck pretty tasty, but the raw tuna and cream sauce (tasted similar to a spiced cocktail sauce) pairing seemed a little odd to me.
I wasn’t a fan of the Seared Steak Tacos. The meat was tough and the stew-like vegetable mix spread on top didn’t do much to improve it – I had to heap on some chipotle salsa to make it palatable.
The Cochinta Pibil Pork Tacos with Salsa Verde weren’t great either. Sure, the porcine shreds were moist but it lacked depth of flavour and the pickles were overly sharp throwing everything off-balance. So far, these Tacos have nothing on those at Taqueria.
Thankfully the Camaron Tacos were better – the juicy sautéed shrimp were well-seasoned and married well with the avocado, red cabbage and spicy creamy sauce.
A Quesadilla with Chorizo, Cheese and Roja was disappointingly bland and lacked the punch one would expect of spiced pork sausage. B and I had one each and left the rest.
The Grilled Corn certainly looked the part and wasn’t bad taste-wise, however the kernels were soft and mushy – as if the corn hobs had been boiled rather than grilled.
Honestly I really can’t see what all the fuss was about. Perhaps the food will be better at the basement restaurant (opens on 20th March), but I for one will not be rushing back to try it.
La Bodega Negra
16 Moor Street
London W1D 5NH
t. 0207 758 4100