I’m a fan of the Bitters n’ Twisted venues in Birmingham, but somehow had never made it to Bodega. I’d perused the menu online before but never found anything that really floated my boat. Maybe South American food just ain’t my thang. But when I was invited to attend the new menu launch last week with a bunch of other Brum Bloggers, I was interested to see whether I’d been remiss in not visiting before.
As an aside from this review, I’ve been invited to attend Bitters n’ Twisted events before, but always felt that I was not enough of a “food blogger” to attend. I’m happy that I’m now much more confident in the “Brummie at Home” side of the blog to attend these events without feeling like a fraud!
In my usual style, I arrive early, then hang around for ages in the cold so I don’t appear too eager. Only to find that everyone else is already there and I have to do the awkward thing of inserting myself into an already seated group of bloggers. Not easy with the low table and padded bench combo, but recognising a familiar face I unelegantly clamber over the furniture (apparently unelegantly is not a word according to my spell check…) and introduce myself to the tablemates I’ll be sharing my food with shortly.
I have to chase up my welcome cocktail – not a great start – and clamber back into my corner. The layout is not particularly conducive to mingling or networking, which is a shame as I am finally enjoying getting to know my fellow Brumbloggers rather than it being the painful and awkward experience of the past. Still it gives me the chance to get to know some new peeps – Sarah of Rainbow and Roses, and Emma of Fashion Mommy.com are my immediate neighbours.
Another aside….I do clamber from my seat to introduce myself to Sarah and Laura (of Sarah+Laura) who I’ve followed, shared and spoke to online for ages! Their gorgeous doggy Bisbee wasn’t present but baby bump certainly was…congratulations again to you both!
I finally have a Pornstar Daquiri in hand, which makes me happy, and I’m looking forward to the food. Nachos are served with a variety of accompaniments and they are the second best I’ve ever tasted (because nothing can beat the nachos on the beach in Playa del Carmen after a 4km walk in 40 degree heat). Then tacos are served. Which are blue. Is this natural? With most of my tablemates opting for the chicken, I test out the veggie mole mushroom version. It’s not bad, if a little sloppy…in my limited experience tacos shouldn’t need to be eaten with a knife and fork.
With the second mushroom taco up for grabs,my tablemates share this between them, and surprisingly announce that it’s better than the chicken. 1-0 to the veggie menu. And we still have a dish to come which will apparently make even the most carnivorous carnivore give up meat. If this is the official tagline for the Quinoa Chifa then I may have to contact Advertising Standards as this dish really didn’t hit the spot for me.
I am then served a gin and tonic in a goldfish bowl sized glass which requires two hands to hold. A good g&t lifts my spirits (pun totally intended) and I have high hopes for the Xim Xim. My tablemates and I fight for the single prawn in our sharing dish. I’d had a particularly tasty left over homemade Cajun Dirty Fried Rice for lunch, and I couldn’t help thinking how that had been nicer. The Xim Xim definitely could have done with more of a kick, and the accompanying sweet potato seemed to lack any definable substance; the common consensus seemed to be “if it’s mash, it should be mash; if it’s a cube, it should be a cube” These were sadly neither cube nor mash.
Time is running away with us, and we’ve reached the end of the official event time, with capirinha-making still to come. It’s a school night and Mr Fletche is my taxi tonight so I make an early exit. I’m left feeling a little underwhelmed by tonight’s offering. And I guess others feel the same when my Brumblogger Twitter timeline is full of Tweets of post-event munchies in other establishments.
I can’t compare the new menu offering to the old one, with this being my first visit (I was kindly outed as a Bodega virgin by our event host Vicky) but it seems my feeling of being underwhelmed was mild compared to the disappointment and anger (yes, anger) experienced by those that had championed Bodega previously. I guess South American food really isn’t my thang, so I’m unlikely to return. Unless it’s for Pornstar Daquiris or a g&t as big as my head.
I was invited to attend this event by Bitters n’ Twisted and all food and drink was complimentary. I wasn’t obligated to write a review but chose to share this with you; all opinions – good and bad – are my own.
Bodega Cantina, 12 Bennett’s Hill, Birmingham B2 5RS
Sunday to Thursday: Noon-10pm, Friday & Saturday: Noon-11pm,
Monday to Thursday: Noon-11pm, Friday & Saturday: Noon-1am, Sunday: Noon-10:30pm