There are two sides to Bodega Negra.
Half of it is a fun, loud Soho restaurant which looks much like any other, and serves up some pretty good Mexican food for quite reasonable prices. It’s like Wahaca, but it’s all dressed up and ready to party. (It might be drunk).
The other half is a top secret subterranean lair accessed via an illuminated entrance to a seedy-looking sex shop. (This bit’s definitely drunk).
The entrance looks so authentic you’ll hesitate for a moment or so, but you must soldier on, explorer.
Continue and you’ll find a man standing in front of a glass cabinet of erotic paraphernalia. Weird, right? Carry on though, carry on.
Then you’ll be invited down a staircase into a candlelit tequila-fuelled party den! And you can breathe a sigh of relief.
Here you’ll find a fancier take on the upstairs restaurant’s menu – with dishes like BBQ’d octopus, seared steak and sweetbread tacos, duck and guacamole tostaditas, red snapper ceviche and Chicken Paillard.
We were just having a quick bite on our visit so opted for the upstairs ‘café’ restaurant, which was full to bursting with people crowded around the bar in the desperate hope of securing a table. Get there early – that’s our tip.
We began in the way all Mexican meals must begin, with guacamole de la bodega and corn chips. The corn chips are gluten free at Bodega Negra, music to our ears.
As we love dips, we also ordered the Queso fondito – chiuahua cheese and chipotle in adobe, it’s a sort of Mexican cheese fondue and it is GREAT (and gluten free, yes indeed).
For the main course we tucked into a big plate of huevos rancheros – two fried eggs, black beans, spicy red salsa & crema (this costs £8.50 as it is, or you can have it with seared rib eye steak for £12.50 or bacon for £10 or both for £13.50 – all three options are gluten free as can be).
And if you’re a lover of tacos you’ll be pleased to hear they’re all gluten free too – here’s what you can pick from.
Bodega Negra’s Gluten Free Tacos – you get three per order
- £8 camaron mango salsa & salsa verde
- £7 pork al pastor pineapple & salsa verde
- £7 pork belly carnitas salsa verde
- £7 chicken achiote crema mexicana
- £7 chorizo & potato arbol salsa
- £7 beef arrachera salsa picante
- £7 pulled lamb salsa borracha
- £7 char-roasted mushroom crema mexicana
- add £5 for cowboy beans and green rice
The Verdict: Fun, loud, fantastic. Probably one of the best ways to start a night out in Soho. Order the queso fondito please. And don’t leave without trying a little tequila.