A New Menu Arrives At Bodega Derby Including A Dedicated Vegan MenuPublished On Sunday 25 Feb 2018 by Sticky Beak
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BODEGA CANTINA, DERBY, CLOSED IN JUNE 2018
Never one to rest on their laurels, the team at Bodega (Derby) have switched the menu up and added some fab new dishes. They rounded up a bunch of willing bloggers, including The Man Bird and I, and invited us over for an evening of sampling the new dishes and making cocktails.
Vicky, Bodega’s Marketing Manager, was as bubbly as ever and along with mixologist Sam provided us with a fun-packed evening. First up was the usual catching up with everyone, but in true Bodega style this was done over a cheeky Porn star Daiquiri, making it so much more sociable :)
When we’d all settled down and gone to the tables set aside for us in the vibrantly decorated upstairs room, Vicky and the team brought out a trio of bowls containing thick homemade Tortilla chips topped with refried beans, Salsa Fresca, and Guacamole respectively. The Tortillas were arranged around the edge of the bowls and looked like the sun’s rays, really pretty presentation.
In the days of being a little Chick myself, the Tribal Elders took me on many holidays to the state of Texas; one of our friends made a really tasty refried bean dish, and the refried beans at Bodega reminded me so much of this! They were kept oh-so-slightly chunky with their skins still on, rather than the bland, homogenous paste that you get all too often; there was a gentle seasoning to them too.
Guacamole is synonymous with South American cuisine and the Bodega interpretation is super; fab texture, seasoning, and just a little hint of sour from Lime. Salsa is another simple accompaniment to tortillas’, yet there can be so many ways to get it wrong. Thankfully, the Bodega team have come up trumps again with their combination of bright, fresh flavours that dance on the tongue.
Soon after, we were served with Blue Corn Tacos. They have brilliant visual appeal thanks to their colour, and they taste pretty much the same as “normal” corn Tacos – maybe slightly coarser? These delights were stuffed with shredded mole chicken, iceberg lettuce, sesame seeds and coriander, and they were delicious. We also tried the vegetarian and vegan suitable mole Mushroom version, which was just as yummy. I liked the different types of mushroom used in this dish, but it is messier to eat than its meat counterpart; be prepared to do some serious finger licking!
With feedback duly given about these nibbles, it was onto a couple of new main course dishes; Quinoa Chifa (a Chinese/Peruvian dish), and Xim Xim which is a classic Brazilian dish. The Quinoa Chifa is also suitable for Vegans, and I’ve got to say at this point that Bodega have introduced a new menu solely for Vegans, so there’s no headache here having to ask for stuff to be taken out or fannying around. Brilliant! :)
All 3 tortilla chip dishes appear on the Vegan menu, and there’s Vegan Nachos, Tacos, Quesadillas, and Burritos to get stuck into. Light bites include Plantain salad, and Sweet Potato with Black Olives, Agave, and Guacamole; the large plates feature a couple of dishes (including the Quinoa Chifa), and there’s a trio of sides to choose from too!
So, the two bowls of yumminess both looked gorgeous and we tucked in with our usual gusto. Sam brought out balloon goblets of Gin and Tonics for us to drink with our mains, very prettily garnished with Lemon wedges and Juniper berries. Although the Quinoa Chifa dish is Vegan/Vegetarian I thought it could just as easily have an option to add chicken for those of us with carnivorous tendencies. The Chifa does have a good old kick to it, so be aware if you’re not the hugest spice lover!
By contrast, the Xim Xim is a milder, creamier dish; due in no small part to the Coconut cream component of it. This dish comes with spicy dirty rice and tortillas, so it’s very filling. The chicken and King Prawns in this dish just soak up the peanut and coconut flavours, and the mouth is filled with them – yum :)
Sticky Sweet Agave Potato was the light bite we sampled, and I think this was possibly my favourite dish - although it was a very close run thing. Cubes of Sweet Potato are cooked and softened, and paired with slices of Black Olives, Queso Fresco cheese and Agave syrup, which sounds an odd combo I’ll grant you; stick with me though, all will be revealed. Cooking transforms the flavour of the Black Olives into something much softer and subtler, so even though I’m not normally a fan of this type of olive I actually really liked this. Add in the sweet, sticky Agave syrup and you have a pleasingly flavoursome dish - I could happily order a large portion of this for a main course. Queso Fresco cheese stopped the dish being too sweet and was light and fresh on the palate.
Now all that remained was to make our own Caiprinha cocktails, either the classic interpretation or Raspberry, or Passion fruit varieties. All I’m going to say is that I’d had a few drinks at this point and was having difficulty remembering Sam’s instructions! Hence, I decided to adopt a unique clop-it-all-in-at-once approach to making my classic Caiprinha. I bunged my double measure of spirit, single measure of sugar syrup, lime wedges (one extra for good luck!) and plenty of ice into the shaker and channelled my inner Cruise - shake, shake, shaaaaake!! How on earth I managed to make something drinkable with this strategy is beyond me, but manage it I did. A delightful chap called Ashley had come up at the same time as me to make his Caiprinha, and he followed Sam’s expert tips to the letter - certainly a better pupil than me :)
Thank you Bodega Derby for hosting such a fun-packed evening and letting us sample the new menu. Go along and try it for yourselves folks, you won’t be disappointed!