Foodie Review: Bodega Cantina Restaurant, Leicester

Back in the day, before the kiddie-winks came along, Mr Mess and I would often go for meals out at a variety of restaurants.  Nowadays, we probably don’t go out to eat as much as we’d like, and when we do we tend to stick with places we know.  Who wants to gamble their one evening out on a restaurant you’re not sure you’ll like?

So, when I received an invitation to review Bodega Cantina in Leicester, I thought it was a great opportunity to try something new for ‘date night’. I’ve read plenty of other reviews by local bloggers about how great Bodega is so I was very excited and booked us in as soon as I could.

It’s funny but I’ve never really spent much time in Leicester.  I always assumed it would be too far to go for a night out.  I was surprised to discover it’s only about an hour down the M1.  That’s really not much longer than it takes me to get to Nottingham or Derby.  I’ll definitely want to make the trip again one day to have a proper explore.

The problem with being in a ew city of course, is that you have no idea where you’re going.  We decided to park in the Highcross rooftop car park, but the signage left A LOT of be desired and we found it more by luck than anything else.  This was followed by a 20 minute stumble around Leicester. Google Maps was of very little use and kept getting turned around.  It felt like a miracle when I finally spotted the restaurant.  Finally, we had arrived!img_0906As we entered the restaurant, we were greeted by our server and taken to our table.  I should probably mention at this point that I didn’t get the names of any of the people who served us, which is terrible of me.  (Although I drank so much tequila I probably wouldn’t remember them anyway!).

The service was incredibly fast.  In no time at all we had ordered our meals and were sipping on our first drinks order.  At this stage we weren’t sure who would be driving, so Mr Mess went for his traditional tap water, while I sampled the Mexican Cola.  I’m not entirely sure how it’s different to normal Cola but I really liked it!img_0908Our first impressions of the restaurant were incredibly positive.  The decor was vibrant and contemporary.  There was a lively atmosphere without it being too rowdy.  We both agreed that this would be a great place to come for a meal with friends or colleagues if you wanted to have a chat and a giggle.  Either that or a really nice date night venue if you were looking for something a little more relaxed.img_0924The Starter

To begin with, Mr Mess and I decided to share a plate of House Nachos.  They arrived ridiculously quickly, we certainly couldn’t complain we were kept waiting. We were informed that these were the best nachos we’d ever eat and I’d be inclined to agree.  If I have tried other nachos which were better I certainly don’t remember them.   The tortilla chips were huge and seemed freshly baked and the salsa and guacamole were so fresh and full of flavour.  I’m really glad we only decided to go for the small portion though.  If we’d gone for the larger one I’d probably have stuffed my face and left no room for the rest of the meal!

img_0911The Main

I had been doing my research on the menu before our visit to Bodega so I already knew exactly what I planned to order.  I chose the Halloumi Burger with Sweet Potato Fries and Spicy Slaw. I’d like to apologise that my photo in no way does this dish justice.  It was incredible! The Halloumi burger (or wrap, more accurately) was divine – the perfect blend of sweet and spicy.  Before this dish I would have insisted that I don’t like sweet potato, so the fries were a revelation!  They were so crispy and tasty – I’m a sweet potato convert.img_0913I didn’t really notice at the time, but having seen another blogger’s photo I think I may have missed out on the spicy slaw.  I certainly didn’t mind, and didn’t feel my meal was lacking in anyway.  However, I would be interested to see if the ‘slaw arrived if I ordered the same dish again.

Mr Mess, after some deliberation, decided to try the Beef Burritos.  When asked, he opted to go for “mildly spicy” deciding it was better to play it safe.  I think that was probably a good bet as I had a single mouth full and it nearly took my head off (Mr Mess says “Somebody’s a spice-wimp”).  Mr Mess assured me I’d got a particularly hot bit and the rest of the burrito was perfectly spiced.  He also noted that the beef was very tender and the accompaniments were fresh and complimented the dish beautifully.img_0916

The Dessert

For me, there was really only one option for dessert.  Churros!  I bloody love churros.  I thought Mr Mess might sample something different, but he also ordered churros.  Great minds and all that.  The Churros were lightly dusted with sugar and cinnamon and were the perfect mix of soft and crispy.  They were served with a caramel sauce which was an interesting change from the chocolate I’m used to.  It had a more delicate flavour than the usual ones.  There were also just the right amount.  I probably could have eaten another couple, but it was for the best that I didn’t.

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The Drink

I really hadn’t planned on this being a particularly boozy night out, even if Bodega had threatened, I mean recommended me to try some of their Tequila tasting platters.  I’m not sure I’ve actually ever tried Tequila before so this was certainly going to be an education.

I was given a variety of Tequilas to sample.  There was a chocolate chilli one, which was delicious but had quite a kick and a coconut one which was delicate and probably my favourite.  We finished with an 80% proof one called Kah which packed a real punch but came in the MOST amazing bottle.

bodegadrinks

I also ordered two cocktails – the Rude Cosmopolitan and the Espresson Martini (my take on the after dinner coffee!).  Both were scrumptious, truly, but did leave me a little merry!  I probably should have realised there was a flight of stairs up to the toilet BEFORE consuming a decent amount of alcohol.

Overall I loved my evening at Bodega Cantina.  Mr Mess and I both agreed that we had a fabulous night out and would happily go back at a later date.  (Although apparently I’m driving next time)  Bodega Cantina has a great website, chock full of details about their food and drinks menus and any special offers or events.  They also have a function room (I know – I peeked my head through the door) which you can hire for private parties.  I love the look for their buffet menu so I might have to find an excuse for a party their soon.

Thank you so much to all of the fabulous staff at Bodega Cantina Leicester for a night to remember.  I hope to see you all again soon!

We were invited to review Bodega Cantina in exchange for a complimentary meal.

All views and content are my own.

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