A Swing and a Miss at Bodega

We’re lucky in Birmingham to have some really great foody and boozy options, and a large group of those are owned by Bitters N Twisted. The jewel in the  Bitters crown has long been Bodega, which has now expanded into Derby, Leicester, Worcester, and most recently, Sutton Coldfield.

I’ve eaten at Bodega many times, as a blogger, and as a paying customer, and always really loved it. Tuesday saw the latest new menu launch, and unfortunately, for the first time, I was disappointed in Bodega.

First off, I apologise for photography, my camera refused to switch on, and I had to fall back on my phone. That aside, let’s get underway.

Bodega Cocktails

Gin and Tonic

the drinks

We started the evening with a new cocktail choice, a Pornstar Daiquiri (£7), a rum take on a Pornstar Martini, with lime and pineapple juice and topped with processco. It was sweet, but not too sweet, and fruity, and all round very pleasant. They’ve also added some Mezcal cocktails that sound interesting, and I’m sad we didn’t get to try them. Luckily, it looks like the cocktail standards have not slipped.

They’ve also added some gin options, but the Gin and Tonic we were served, was very, very watery, and the options on offer seemed a little basic for a bar owned by the same people as the Jekyll & Hyde.

Chicken Tacos

Xim Xim

Bodega Tacos
Sweet Potato
the food

Luckily, the nachos are still the same fresh bits of gorgeousness they always were. Other items have had a shake up now. The tacos have changed from four mini ones, to two larger sized ones, which are now blue, for reasons I am not clear on. I didn’t get to the try the Mole Chicken (£4.95), but the Mole Mushroom (£4.75) were incredibly wet. The filling was beyond sloppy, making them incredibly challenging to eat. Rather than mole, it tasted strongly of aniseed, and was almost licquoricy, and unpleasant.

New Quinoa Chifa (£8.50) was bland, and over cooked. Sticky Agave Sweet Potato (£4.50) was strange, and much, much too sweet. Lastly, we were brought Bodega classic, Xim Xim (£11.95). This is usually my regular order, and I love it, but now? It had clearly sat under a heat lamp, so was dry on top and soggy at the bottom. The once thick sauce is now watery and tasteless. The chicken was dry, but at least the prawns are still plump and fresh.

The incredibly popular Beef Brisket Burrito is now gone, which is gutting, as it was a real menu highlight, and I can’t see which of the new items is meant to replace it.

The service

Usually, Bodega’s team are amazing, and I’ve always been impressed by their attention to dietary requirements. But on this occasion, I was amazed and frankly, appalled, to see a gluten intolerant diner wait over an hour before being given anything she could actually eat, and one with a shellfish allergy be told she ‘should have eaten more of the quinoa’ in response to enquiring about the Xim Xim.

Honestly? The whole evening was poor. It’s immensely disappointing from somewhere I love so much, and I wonder if maybe the expansion has proved a step too far, and costs are being cut? I hate to slate somewhere usually great, and I really hope this is just a blip.

I was invited to the the new menu tasting by Bodega, in exchange for honest feedback. All words, images and opinions are my own. I hate to write negative reviews, but I feel it would be dishonest not to share my frustrations with the many decisions and concerns on attention to diner’s requirements.