A couple of weeks ago I was invited to try out the new menu at Bodega Leicester.
Although I have a few friends in Leicester it isn’t somewhere I usually venture out, although walking through the city last week I realised that I really should. Even on a cold Wednesday night the city was alive, and Bodega was heaving with members of the public and the Leicester bloggers network.
Bodega is located in the heart of the city at Saint Martins Square, which is a hub of independent bars, shops and restaurants. Inside the restaurant is bright and decorated in bright colours with a mix of high and low tables.
I met with my lovely friend Emmie from Carpe Diem Emmie and her fella Jordan and headed in to be greeted by the team.
We were shown to a table and immediately presented with a Pornstar Daiquiri. Made from passion fruit and rum it was fruity, alcoholic and a great way to start the evening!
From there, bowls of guacamole, salsa and refried beans with huge nachos were put on the table and everyone dove in. I will be honest here, the guacamole has the sort of brownish tinge that suggests that it was made hours ago and it lacked flavour. The salsa was some of the best I have ever tasted though. Chunks of tomato and onion, a hint of lime and coriander made this a great side dish. Same with the refried beans. This is the first time I have had refried beans on their own and it was great to taste the earthy flavour alone rather than stuffed into a burrito along with everything else. I would order both of these again. However the portions of all were massive and it would have been nice to have more nachos to dip.
We were then presented with their blue corn tacos. The chef holidays in South America and he ‘knew he had to bring them to Leicester’. They are also gluten free! We had two fillings;
Mole mushrooms, refried beans, and spicy onions
Mole chicken, iceberg lettuce, sesame seeds & coriander.
Two tacos are priced at £4.75 and £4.95 respectively and they aren’t bad value for money. The Mole spice is made from 16 different herbs and spices including star anise and cumin, but I have to admit we couldn’t really taste any flavour in the chicken taco at all. The mushroom was far better but still didn’t pack the essential flavour I wanted. The taco shell also tasted floury and unappealing unfortunately.
We then tried the quinoa chifa, a Chinese-Peruvian stir fry containing quinoa, tofu, broccoli, sliced vegetables and spring onion in a teriyaki spiced sauce. I really enjoyed this. The flavours worked really well and the teriyaki sauce was salty and sweet. The portion was huge too. Plus it is vegan! In fact there is a whole vegan menu to choose from if you are so inclined.
Then out came the Xim Xim. This dish was a Brazilian classic. Chunks of chicken, prawns and diced vegetables in a thick creamy peanut butter & coconut milk sauce with dirty rice & tortillas on the side. The sauce in this was lovely and you can really change the peanut. It is light, using coconut milk rather than cream and again the tortillas were lovely and crisp. However, in the whole dish we only counted 3 prawns which was a little disappointing. For nearly £12 I would have expected a few more.
Last up was the sticky agave sweet potato. Again this is a vegan dish of cubed roasted sweet potato with agave syrup, a honey substitute, and black olives. It was extremely sweet but the olives balanced it out with their salty, brine like taste. It really could have done with nice presentation though haha.
We were then treated to a cocktail masterclass to learn to make caipirinha’s. I worked behind a bar when I was 18, first at a pub and then in a nightclub. However this was before the whole ‘cocktail revolution’ took off. The most ‘cocktail’ thing I ever made in a bar was a Malibu and coke!
I was terrible! Thankfully with a lot of guidance from the lovely bartender, I made a passable passion fruit caipirinha, but I think I will leave it to the experts!
I had a great night. I love the fact that there is a specific, vast vegan menu and it doesn’t feel as though you are missing out. The thing I struggled with during Veganuary was the lack of choice while eating out. You won’t get this at Bodega. I think there is a little work to do on the main menu but I would definitely go back for more!
*My meal was complimentary in return for an honest review.