Find us on Facebook
It’s a Friday night and we’re grateful we booked; clearly we are not the only ones for whom the warm, welcoming allure of Bodega proves irresistible in the pouring rain. We are greeted by vibrant walls, rustic wooden tables and stripped-back metal chairs as we shake off the cold. Our table will be a few moments but there is a bar downstairs where we can wait.
Given that it is already 9.15, in any other restaurant this would be an infuriating wait whilst our stomachs rumble. However, once we clamber down some unlikely-looking stairs to the left, we are met with the alien world of the “Sugarloaf Bar”. It is a reassuringly quirky underground cavern that clearly does not take itself too seriously. The skull-adorned walls and the DJ in full-flow in the corner evoke a refreshing blend: Mexico’s Day of the Dead discovers the bustle of Soho. A Corona with lime for him and a Margarita for me.
Having been cocooned for the last half an hour by the buzz of fusion music and the most fascinating people-watching since the Olympics, we are suddenly called back upstairs to the land of the living. Why can’t every meal out start with a preprandial carnival experience?
We find the menu simple and user-friendly; we are not left with the usual confusion between burritos, quesadillas and tortillas! Bodega is doing something different. At fair prices you experience a South American take on western classics like the burger or the steak. Sweet potato wedges (batatas fritas) transform the staple of chips and standard burger buns make way for tortilla wraps. The street food section allows you to enjoy fresh, alfresco bites made with the refinement of restaurant dining. We remark on the pleasing portion size with every plate including a sprinkling of rocket salad.
As I am wont to do, I cannot resist a glance at the dessert selection. I have in my mind the recommendation from my friend that I “must try the dougnuts there”. I find the dougnuts in question under the name of Churros. Despite being slightly concerned by the rich sounding description on the menu, we take the plunge and share them. Once again pleased by the modest portion size, we revel in dunking these cute dough shapes into the viscous caramel sauce whilst chuckling at the jovial banter going on between the waiters and waitresses as they begin to pack up. This place really does sing carnival from its walls, to its food, to its staff!
We wander out around midnight satisfied with our brief adventure into Birmingham’s little América del Sur and ready to recommend a visit to our friends.
By Maddie Kilminster
The UoB Linguist Magazine
Guild of Students,
University of Birmingham