‘Viva la Mexico….’ is all I could say when I saw an old sex shop in Soho being converted into a restaurant. What a wonderful idea to have the shop front remain the same to fit in with the Soho grime and convert the inside into something not so seedy. This would have passers by in a daze as to why young families were popping in with their kids, what a free thinking world???
Alas, if you didn’t fancy the questionable looks of going into this hidden eatery you could use the other entrance (less fun). The sex shop front only opens at 6pm when the neon lights come alive and there definitely is a difference between the two restaurants. The Compton St tame entrance has a more modern interior and the dirty shopfront entrance is a bit more rustic and charming. Service is friendly, charming and personal which I do like about this place, waiters genuinely offering their opinions on dishes as well as asking about your plans for the day and popping in their own suggestion of what you could get up to in central.
The cocktails are divine. I can’t remember the last time I had such a tasty mock-tail.
Food is a bit hit and miss and well I think there were more misses than hits to be 100% honest. The nacho starters were great and the guacamole was one of the freshest and finest, so much so I can probably say that they are rivalling Chipotle here. However, then you have to question how can someone get nachos wrong and can this really be the only silver lining of the food here especially when the nachos are probably not made in house.
To start with we had pulled lamb tacos which were £18 for 3. I think this is actually rather over priced. We had one taco each which was enough for two bites and it wasn’t the most heaviest in flavours. I am rather sensitive to salt and am never one to add salt to food so I needed to ask Elena and our friend Vish what they thought of the salt content and both thought the taco was overly salty making it not so enjoyable. Not the best start but it kept us knocking back the drinks which increased the tab so maybe there is a thought process behind it.
For mains Elena and I ordered the Huevous Rancheros with stripped beef. Now, I love this classic Mexican breakkie dish and fell in love with it in Mexico and the Hotbox brunch version of it. Huevous Rancheros is a baked all in one dish with black beans, corn fritters, eggs, cheese and guacamole, please don’t expect this for the La Bodega Negra version. I am always open to developments of dishes as long as they are an improvement. This dish was not an improvement, the only flavour I could taste was salt, again I checked to ensure it wasn’t me being sensitive but Elena couldn’t finish her dish due to how salty it was. The meat was nice but rather on the fatty side which meant again there were bits that couldn’t be eaten. Upon investigation it came to light that the black beans were the culprits of the excess saltiness in our system but it was hard to avoid the black beans as they were covering the base of the plate so were covering all the other bits of the dish.
Our fried Vish had the chicken fajitas which looked really impressive with the heap of colours and condiments. It looked like fun having to pop each fajitas together. After trying the fajitas we can say it was nothing to rave about. Saltiness was less so than the rest of the dishes we had tried but again it was very apparent in the seasoning of the chicken.
As much as we loved the concept and the fun features of this quirky Mexican dine it’s a shame the food didn’t live up to the hype.
Worth paying a visit just for a quick picky of the shop front.
La Bodega Negra
16 Moor Street, London W1D 5NH