Apr 10 2012

La Bodega Negra


This place scores highly on so many levels … La Bodega Negra is a new restaurant in Soho (same owners as La Esquina in NY where the entrance is hidden behind a taco counter), and the entrance of this place is a sex shop (so you can’t see from outside that it is a restaurant at all, you need to know the address – 9 Old Compton Road and when you go there it is from the outside a sex shop advertising lap dances, etc…). Once you enter the restaurant (sex shop) and say you have a reservation for dinner people are very friendly and the waitress takes you downstairs to the main dining area, which is quite dark, plays funky music and has a great atmosphere (a bit like Hakassin in the city, has that cool vibe …). Now I usually don’t say anything about service, but here it was excellent, the waitress explained all the signature dishes and was genuine and nice and seemed very happy to help. As for the food La Bodega Negra serves Mexican food, and in my view some of the best south American food in London (much better than the recent Ceviche restaurant that I visited). As for the food we had: 1) sesame tostadas with guacamole (excellent guacamole, and I don’t really eat it that much); 2) crab, coriander, mango and salsa verde tostadita (good); 3) 2 types of tacos – Al Pastor (pork) with pineapple (very nice!) and Prawn Jicama Al Mojo de Ajo (also very nice and the sauce reminded me a bit of Nando’s peri peri sauce…); 4) red snapper, tomato and coriander ceviche (was ok, I have had better); 5) heart of palm coriander vinaigrette salad (I was a bit disappointed with this one, as you pay 11 pounds and the salad is not that nice or impressive at all); and as for the main course 6) whole sea bass with red (spicy!!) and green (not so spicy and much tastier) adobe. My boyfriend gave this place 5/5, but I have market it down slightly as some of the dishes failed to impress me 100% with the taste. Nevertheless it is still a very cool place to go, great vibe, food etc and you should def try it out before everyone starts going there and making it Zuma hard to get reservations

date: 10/04/12



Unfortunately I am going to have to downgrade La Bodega Negra to MMM from MMMM after my last visit. I went to La Bodega Negra on a Saturday night with my boyfriend and another couple David and Gaelle and even though the atmosphere of the place was even better than the last time I went there the food unfortunately had got worse. The atmosphere was amazing when we arrived on a Saturday at 8, the place was buzzing, it was dark, intimate and fun, and people were having cocktails by the bar and eating dinner by the table. I think for a fun night out this place has one of the best atmospheres of any restaurant in London, if you like this type of dark, buzzing, cool place. The plates in which they served food were less cool this time, last time we got these dark black plates and this time it was just plain white ones. 


We ordered some “sesame tostadas with guacamole” to start with, and these tostadas were super average, it felt like they had just bought them in a shop and served them and the guacamole was not great as well, last time it was much much better, and also there was not enough for all the tostadas which meant we had to ask for more. We then ordered some “prawn ceviche with salsa verde” and “spicy yellow fin tuna ceviche with guajillo chilli” and the prawn ceviche was presented in a jar with some of the same tostadas we had already seen with the guacamole, and it did not resemble your typical ceviche as it was thick and just felt like prawns in this salsa verde sauce, but nevertheless was quite nice. The yellow fin tuna ceviche was quite nice, but definitely was not amazing. I am looking at the ceviche we had last time and it was much better than any of these ones. Tacos were another disappointment, they looked great and were nicely presented stacked up in this wooden taco holder, but the seared stake with salsa piccante taco seemed so tasteless, I was shocked a taco could have this little taste, as usually they are amazing. We also ordered 2 lamb tacos with drunken salsa and pork belly carnitas tacos with salsa verde, but I did not try any of these. The last started that we ordered was the quesadilla rustica that was served with quarto queso (4 cheeses), roasted tomato and epazote, which I did really like, but it was more like a thin pizza than a quesadilla. The main courses I thought were even worse. We ordered wild sea bass with green and red adobe, the same thing that we had ordered last time, and I thought the presentation was much worse (you can compare in the pictures) and also the green and red sauce were not as strong and tasty as last time. Another 2 main courses we ordered were “slow roasted lamb barbacoa with salsa borracha” and “jacobs ladder short rib with modelo and chipotle” and I was impressed with the sizes of these dishes, they were huge and enough for many people to share but unfortunately both main courses tasted quite similar. The meat was soft and tender in both dishes as it felt like it had been cooked for a while, but there was not enough spices to differentiate the two things, the short rib was served with mashed potatoes and that is the main difference that I can think of. We also got some sides “potatoes with mole negro”, “green rice” and “courgettes with tomato and epazote”. I really liked the green rice, and also the courgettes were interesting in this thick tomato salsa. The potatoes were quite nice with the mole sauce. 


Also if last time I though the service was great, this time I thought it was average, to slightly bad, as the waiter forgot our side dish of pinto beans and a salad, and was just all over the place at times, and also they did not let me use the flash when I was taking pictures of the food, so some photos are not that great. I still like La Bodega Negra mainly for the atmosphere, because it is so unique, and it has a strong New York trendy fell to it, but the food is very average, and it scores so highly for me just because I love the atmosphere. 


Date: 19/01/13 

Price for 4 people including many margaritas and service charge: £345


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Maija rated: 




La Bodega Negra
9 Old Compton Street W1D 5JF
United Kingdom
La Bodega Negra Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 3