Bodega is muy bueno. Very. It now has one Hat. Yay. It is great for Bodega to get the recognition it deserves but for those of us that have been eating here for years it makes it even harder to get a table. They've never taken reservations so you've either got to queue for 6pm when they open or turn up later and hope a table becomes available in a reasonable amount of time. We arrived well before 6pm and by 5.45 quite a crowd had gathered in front of the door. Most of the people we chatted to had never been before and had come because of the Hat awarded by the Good Food Guide. The bloody awards work. Bodega has always been busy so this just makes it that much harder to get in.
But get in we did. We have been coming here for ages but it has been quite a while, last year I think, since we've been here. I blame Michelle - morning sickness killed her appetite for months and one of our favourite dishes at Bodega, the Fish Fingers, contains raw fish which is another big pregnancy no-no.
Their new found status has not affected the food one iota. We couldn't have the Fish Fingers because, as I said, Michelle is up the duff and I just couldn't eat it in front of her... Tempted though I was. But every thing else was either new, exciting and tasty or traditional tasty tapas. We really couldn't go wrong.
We started with bread and olive oil to die for.
Mushrooms in garlic. Some really tasty goddamned mushys. Garlic, mushrooms and oil. How much simpler could you get but how tasty?
Bodega chorizo with sofrito paste was spicy and succulent.
Fried spiced calamari with aioli (above). Just what it says except I'd also call it delicious.
Seared Scallops with Morcilla, Braised Cabbage and Pickled Cauliflower (above). Morcilla is a Spanish black pudding or blood sausage. This dish is very fine - delicate even, but it packs a wallop of flavour.
Banana Split: Cream flan, dulce de leche ice cream, ginger biscuit and banana. This, like the Fish Fingers, is a house speciality and is always on the menu. It is nothing like any banana split you've ever had before.
The service here is always above and beyond. Great food and great service it is no wonder it one of our very favourite places. Thank god Michelle is over her morning sickness. We can go back. Yay.