Up front, vibrant and lively, Bodega Cantina serve up a celebration of South American eats from its base on Bennetts Hill. And it certainly looks the part: a Mexican wrestler mask illuminates the far end of the downstairs space, whilst beady eyed calaveras watch over diners from shelves and crevasses throughout the canteen. An assortment of tables and chairs divide the space, some lined with Aztec patterns, whilst others stand in bold block colours. And behind the rough and ready wood-panelled bar, the walls display a desert of cacti surrounded by bottles of tequila and mezcal. Overall, the Mexican theme is strong and powerful; a relentless yet captivating visual stimulation that sets the scene for the vivid dishes to come.
True to this look, Bodega Cantina know their way around the landscape of popular South American eats. The menu begins with favourite street food dishes with a Tex-Mex feel, including Burritos full to the brim with incredible pulled pork marinated in Dr Pepper, and crisp Quesadillas stuffed with oven roasted peppers and spiced onion. You’ll also find their legendary homemade nachos with molten mozzarella & cheddar, which is a must order before starting any meal.
The visual feast continues with an array of stunning small plates made for sharing. Picture Peruvian Ceviche, Mexican Cola Wings and Smokey Brazilian Beans, laid out on colourful dishes across your table. There are plenty of larger plates too, which are designed to enjoy alone (believe us, they’re too good to share). We’re talking Brazilian Moqueca (prawns, white fish, leeks, tomatoes and coriander in a chimichurri and coconut milk sauce), Peruvian Seco de Pollo (a delicious chicken hotpot with potatoes, green beans, onions and coriander), and their showstopping Burger a la Parilla (a homemade 6oz beef burger, cheese and chipotle mayo in a toasted tortilla).
To drink, there’s plenty of the aforementioned tequila and mezcal that can be mixed into a cocktail of your choosing (we recommend going for a straight-up Mezcal & Tonic), as well as a great collection of beers and wines.
Bodega Cantina have created an immersive dining experience - punchy, loud and entertaining, both the food and atmosphere make for an unforgettable eat.