MJo is a huge fan of Mexican, so huge that dangling the prospect of Mexican food for dinner is sometimes the only way I can entice him out of the flat. So I get super excited whenever a new Mexican place opens in town.
Imagine how excited I got when I first read about La Bodega Negra which combines NY nightlife chic (by way of The Box and La Esquina’s Serge Becker) and London restaurateur flair (by way of E&O’s Will Ricker and Ed Spencer-Churchill)! Perhaps I should have read these as early signs…
When I got there at 7pm on a Friday evening, I was told the wait would be an hour and a half for a table. In the meantime we were welcome to grab a drink at the bar. Standard modus operandi of a trendy Soho hotspot. We decided to give it a shot and got lucky and got the awkward spot right at the entrance within 10 mins, and it gave us the best view of the room too.
So the crowd? Definitely a well-heeled and well-dressed crowd. The decor? Trendily relaxed bistro-style by day which is transformed by good lighting into a chic nightspot by night. The service? Surprisingly friendly given the hotter-than-hip quotient of the place currently.
And dare we ask, how was the food? This is where we were let down. We had the steak and pork tacos. First of all, they were tiny! I finished one taco within 2 bites and I’m not known for taking big bites. For 1.5 times the price of Wahaca’s tacos, I was expecting at least Wahaca quality or size. Not to mention that my pork tacos were drowning in hot sauce, rendering them inedible, and I had to send them back (which they were actually very gracious about).
Did you get drunk at least? Well it would have been a pretty expensive place to get drunk, at £7.50each for a margharita that wasn’t that strong. (We wandered to Wahaca afterwards and got us some more potent Margharitas for £6 each)
Having said all that, I would go again, but not for the food. I like the bar, it’s casual and buzzy. It’s not jam-packed like Azulito Bar at Wahaca. And there are enough beautiful people there to make it a rather aesthetically pleasing experience overall.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars (for the food) 4 for everything else (service, atmosphere etc)
Good for: Date night, drinks with friends, celeb-spotting (check out Dita Von Teese here)
p.s. I later realised that they have a cafe and a restaurant. The review above was for the cafe.