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9 Old Compton Street
We’re going to call it: this is surely London’s only Mexican restaurant hidden behind the facade of a sex shop. Such exterior bawdiness is increasingly hard to come by in Soho, although Bodega Negra’s Stygian urban-chic interior and “great service” have much in common with current restaurant trends. The kitchen’s proclivity for supreme tacos has never been hotter, with fillings including soft-shell crab accompanied by a slathering of smoky chipotle crema, while tostadas feature a winning combo of Serrano ham and tuna. We suggest ordering a selection, plus salad or a piquant plate of ceviche – although those with bigger appetites should look to wood-grilled pork belly with mezcal and salsa or a whole sea bream, tender from the fire. Bodega’s party vibes and low-lit interior aren’t for everyone, but if Tequilas galore and 50ml shots of mezcal sound like a good time, this basement den from funky restaurateur Will Ricker (E&O et al) is for you.
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9 Old Compton Street
Tottenham Court Road Tube Station 271m
Leicester Square Tube Station 288m
Shaftesbury Avenue 69m
Prince Edward Theatre 89m
Mon-Sun 6pm-1am (Sun -12M)
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 1
1 star is generous after the service I received tonight. I was told to arrive on time or my table would be given away and then when I arrived on time they told me my table wasn't ready and I would have to wait. They then lost my card and as I was with a friend I had no money to get home at which point they said they couldn't help me! Again they were rude and to top off the food was average at best.
Food + drink: 2
Food + drink: 3
I first went to Bodega Negra in its early stages of life and in truth it was pretty terrible with poor food and totally chaotic staff.
Happily, I can report after a second recent visit that the whole enterprise is now much more slick, with great service from our Scottish waiter (his name escapes me) and very well executed cocktails from the competent bar team. The food is much better than before, but I wish it was more consistent between the dishes so that it rises above a competent but average standard.
Seafood rioja ceviche was tasty and well seasoned, but in contrast the guacamole lacked flavour and punch. The soft shell crab tacos was really good, as was the pork belly main course. But the much vaunted braised lamb in a sauce of Mexican beer was not cooked for nearly long enough, being hard to pull off the bone, and the beer sauce was so overpowering that all the flavour of lamb had been lost. The rosemary potatoes were undercooked which is a very basic error. The iced berries with white chocolate sauce on the otherhand were absolutely divine.
Four starters, four mains, one dessert, eight cocktails and six bottles of water, including service, made a bill of £260. So £65 for four people is quite reasonable, especially with the style and location of the restaurant taken into consideration. Please get the consistency higher!
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