We arrived before the place even opened to avoid queues, as a friend suggested. Luckily, there were no queues to be seen and we weren't there too early either. As soon as you step into the place, there's a certain vibe and energy that you feel - it's a combination of the music and the welcoming nature of the super-friendly staff.
There were a few dishes we knew we wanted to try, but we also asked for their recommendations - fish fingers and buttermilk pancake are popular choices, whilst the veal sweetbreads option (which was changed that night to pork jowl) was a suggestion from our waiter.
And so we ordered!
"Arepa" corncake, refried beans, fresh cheese ($6.50 each)
The corncakes were finger-licking good. We struggled to eat it without all the components falling on to the plate, but I think that was half the fun.
Fish fingers, hiramasa, charred toast, cuttlefish, mojama ($22)
These were apparently a must-try. The dish was bang full of flavour and ones that I wasn't used to, but I think all of the flavours worked quite well together. Only complaint was that the toast was a bit too charred for my liking.
Veal sweetbreads (pork jowl instead for the day we went), minced prawns, buckwheat noodles and egg sauce ($24)
I really liked the texture of the pork jowl, but I can't really remember much else about this dish. (Sorry, this post comes quite late)
Corn tamale, fontina, mushrooms pibil, green mole ($24)
To be honest, I don't even know what half the things are in that menu description, but one of the must-try dishes as suggested by a friend was 'the mushrooms' and this was the only item that had mushrooms in it (perhaps the menu changed?). But I didn't really care. This was my favourite dish of the night and the photo doesn't do the dish justice. I don't know exactly what it was, but all the parts melded together so well and that corn tamale had the most awesome texture. I'd love to be able to try to make this at home.
The dishes we tried were definitely ones we were unfamiliar and not used to - the flavours were bold, yet complemented one another. The company I was with found them a bit strange for their tastebuds, used to Asian cuisines I suppose, but I really liked this foray into something different.
Bodega has a fantastic atmosphere about it and we were there pretty early too, only as the place started to fill up. The staff are so nice and attentive, especially in continually topping up my water throughout the meal - no mean feat, considering how much water I drank to quench my thirst. Not to mention, one of them had a wicked moustache!
The place seems like a great one for friends to catch up and even though I don't know what so many menu items are, I'm curious and keen to find out what they are and what they taste like, especially the steamed milk bun and the buttermilk pancake.