La Bodega Negra

In New York, Mexican food is king.  In London, Indian food is king.  But what happens when you're craving a burrito, taco, or enchilada in London?  There are a number of small cafes serving up decent, albeit boring, mexican street snacks such as Benito's Hat, Chilango, and Chipotle, which are great standbys for a quick burrito for lunch, but there's an overall lack of quality sit down Mexican restaurants in the city.  On a recent night, we were craving just that and took a trip to La Bodega Negra in Soho.  We didnt have too high expectations going in as it's been hailed as being more of a trendy cocktail place, and the reviews so far have been pretty mixed.  Upon visiting, we learned why.  La Bodega Negra is a very cool place: the decor is cool, the ambiance is cool, the clientele is playing cool, but the food doesn't impress.  Worst of all, it's overpriced.  This place falls into a genre of restaurants in London, and any large city for that matter, that exists because of hip factor rather than the quality of the food.  Sputino is another London restaurant that I would argue fits into this category, and to a certain degree Meat Liquor.  However, before people jump down my throat, I love the food at Meat Liquor as any American born man would, I just dont appreciate sitting next to people who are there eating wedge salads and having's a burger place, common...even if you're vegetarian, have a veggie burger!  Anyway, I digress...

We started off with the guacamole and tortilla chips (crisps), which were pretty standard at £4.50.  The tiny cup of guacamole was barely enough for half of the chips, and it had been blended too much, lacking any big chunks of avocado.  Perhaps in an effort to compensate for the small guacamole portion,  there was an an equally small portion of bland salsa.  Overall, it was a disappointment.  But we did enjoy the pair of salsas and did not let them go to waste.
I should note, that we ate in the café upstairs rather than the restaurant, which I can only assume serves a similar quality food for twice as much money.

Next we had an order of tacos, which were served at £6.00 for three.  While it would be nice to have a selection of three different tacos to have some variety, that isn't an option.  We settled on the pork al pastor, and the few bites we had were pretty tasty, but the tacos were minuscule   The tacos at chipotle are almost twice the size and bursting at the seems with meat, and you have the option at least of adding more toppings to them.  That aside, we also had this with green rice and cowboy beans, bringing this dish to £12.00 total.  The rice was nicely cooked and full of zest from the coriander and lime.  The cowboy beans were boring and reminded me of canned beans.

We followed that up with a roasted beef with tortillas and salad.  The meat was cooked well, tender and flavorful.  The tortillas were a bit soggy and there were too many greens that didn't really fit the dish at all.  I did appreciate the black beans on the side.  To drink, we had a couple Modelo beers, which brought the total bill to £40.00.

Overall, on reflection, the food is O.K. at La Bodega Negra, but I won't be going back.  Lupita is a much tastier option down the road and you can ge more food for the same price.  I may be very biased because I'm used to Mexican food in New York (and many parts of the States for that matter), but at the end of the day, I think I'd prefer having a Benitos hat or Chipotle burrito than go back to La Bodega Negra. 
La Bodega Negra on Urbanspoon


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