It’s an ambitious thing eating absolutely everything on the menu, but somehow we managed this first-world challenge in a single sitting. As a result we can assure you Bodega’s promise of Mexican fare that’s “hot, fresh and ballsy” is definitely being kept.
With our gorgeous friend Laura in tow, the plan was a casual dinner, and just maybe a teensy weensy glass of wine. Five bottles and a round of espresso martinis later, we realised our quiet Sunday night was officially out of hand.
Come to think of it, there may also have been an after-party, and a table (appropriately enough) of gay Mexicans we tried to befriend, but our memories get hazy at this point.
Anyhoo … venture down Leith Walk, past the Elm Row shops, and try not to blink. For it’s here you’ll discover Bodega, which is about two metres wide, with seating for around fifteen people (at a drunken guess).
This small, but perfectly formed restaurant finds inspiration everywhere from Korea to Jamaica, offering Mexican food with real pizazz. Add to that an intimate atmosphere with plenty of quirk, and you’re looking at a great night out.
Taking full advantage of the BYOB policy, down we popped with a few bottles. Soon after, we unanimously agreed the Warm spicy black bean dip with melted cheese was the perfect place to start. How right we were, especially when each amazing mouthful is topped off with the gorgeous homemade Salsa.
Next to arrive was the Guacamole. Now for such a seemingly simple recipe, it’s astounding the highs and lows you can experience when ordering this dish. But believe us, Bodega’s is absolutely top notch. In fact, one might even say life-changing.
First wine bottle almost drained, it was time to indulge in the wonderful and varied selection of tacos. Each mouthwatering flavour comes as a pair, so perfect for sharing, unless of course your name is Isaac.
It seems in this setting he would rather slit his own throat than let you touch his food, even when it’s people he professes to love. Fortunately Laura is much more of a team player, enabling the two of us to sample just about every taco on offer.
Without exception, each one was perfection. So over the next hour or so, we were wowed by the Baja-style cod bites, tempura tiger prawns, roast squash with black bean purée, pulled pork, crispy halloumi, and slow cooked chili steak with a smoky glaze.
But by far our favorite was the Vietnamese pork with bean sprouts, kimchi, coriander and lime. Now this was a spiritual experience, one that definitely required repeating.
So while the menu says the average person requires four tacos, somehow we managed to squeeze in nine a piece. Oops. Mind you, they are gluten-free, so perhaps our actions could be considered healthy??
No, probably not.
Then, unable to actually move, we found ourselves ordering dessert as well. Yes, yes, we know, obesity is an epidemic, blah blah blah, but … churros coated in sugar, and then plunged into soft warm chocolate is self-medication at its most enjoyable.
In fact everything about this restaurant is enjoyable. It may be one of Edinburgh’s smallest, but in the opinion of these humble social bitches, it’s also one of its best.
Reviewed June 2017
62 Elm Row
Leith Walk EH7 4AQ
0131 556 7930