Wednesday 11 November 2015

Food Review: Wrath: Feel the Heat - Bodega Menu Tasting

Bodega is one of Birmingham's hottest hangouts, and it's not unusual to hear people suggesting dinner or drinks at the South American eatery. I've been here a few times for dinner, after work cocktails and even for New Year's Eve a while back.

However, I most recently visited Bodega following an invitation from Bitters N Twisted to try out the new menu at a special blogger event called, Wrath: Feel the Heat.

For a gluten free foodie, Bodega has left me feeling jealous in the past of the tasty burritos, tacos and nachos on offer that I sadly couldn't try. My go to dish has always been the chilli, but has Bodega come up trumps?

The bloggers took over the entire downstairs area of Bodega, Sugarloaf Bar, on a giant table, and once we were all in we were greeted by Vicky from Bitters N Twisted and given an introduction by the GM. There were margheritas ready too, which is a great way to start off an evening.

Next, it was buffet time. Out came a selection of dishes for us to try, some which were specially adapted to be gluten free and dairy free.

We tried mango salad, Brazilian Xim Xim with Dirty Rice and Veggie Tacos as well as a chocolate cake and white chocolate and mojito cheesecake for dessert.

Xim Xim was a new one for me, but turned out to be an African dish that was claimed by Brazilians. Mde with chicken and prawns, it's a nutty, curry like dish that tasted quite Carribbean to me and quite simialr to the Mo Bay Chicken dish at Turtle Bay. This was served with Dirty Rice which is flavoured with smoked paprika and was tasty and flavoursome without being overly spicy, as well as nachos (not gluten free!). I would definitely try this again.

The mango salad was very fruity and sweet with a lovely raspberry vinaigrette and pumpkin seeds too. This was pretty healthy but also really, really, tasty.

I finally got to try those tacos after all as Bodega now serves them in lettuce leaves for a gluten free option. We tried the option with black beans, avocado, sweet potato, pico de gallo and toasted pine nuts and this went down very fast!

Onto desserts, there was a very rich chocolate cake that appears on the menu as Pastal de Chocolate Pegajoso. This was incredibly rich and I'd recommend sharing this dessert. The cheesecake was also pretty thick and although lighter in flavour, was still quite a mouthful. The cheesecake is not gluten free but I did try the top, but I was so impressed to see that are now two gluten free desserts on the table, which is very impressive.

There were also plenty of traditional South American drinks on offer including Margheritas, Caipirinhas, Mojitos of course and even a Peach Sangria.

Marcel gave us the rundown on Mexican spirits, how mojitos cured scurvy, and on some of the 50 different types of tequila available. If he's around when you visit next, ask Marcel for the stories behind Cachaca and Tequila, I wouldn't want to hand out spoilers!

With not a burrito in sight, I was surprised to see such a variety of dishes on the table that were so different to what I had imagined. The new menu is to me, a real improvement and adds some variety to traditional dishes. I'd like to think that people are getting used to South American food and are ready to try more and be adventurous.

From a gluten free perspective, the menu is a real improvement and offers a lot more choice. The Xim Xim was a standout and there is much more provision to adapt dishes, such as the tacos, which is great. I for one can find it frustrating that dishes which are easy to adapt are often off the menu because of the inclusion of something which could easily be changed. For example, I'm happy to eat tacos in a lettuce leaf rather than not at all and this opens up the choices on offer for gluten free diners too.

Bodega, I'll be back and I won't be eating chill next time...I may even try the peach sangria again too.

*I was invited to dine as a guest of the restaurant. With thanks to Vicky at Bitters N Twisted and Brumderland

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