Finally, I found a place that professes to serve authentic Mexican fare in the heart of Delhi – La Bodega. Coming from a Spanish word meaning ‘grocery store’, La Bodega also means a cellar. However, this casual restaurant tries to reflect the rustic spirit of a streetside cafe in Mexico.
Conveniently located in a street in Khan Market, its entry is actually a blink and a miss. Shopping on a weekend evening in one of my favorite marketplaces, I chanced upon this little door, which was La Bodega, and I actually had to hunt it down a couple of hours later when my shopping was done.
29B, Middle Lane
12 PM to 12.30 AM
Up a flight of stairs, this cute and spunky little place is spread over two floors. At one end, there are white walls, an open kitchen with shelves full of colorful vegetables like yellow and red bell peppers, avocados, zucchini, and broccoli, and daily specials handwritten on a blackboard. On the other end, you see colorful upholstery on the wooden rustic seating and bookshelves. I quite fell in love with the place. What actually stole my heart was my favorite white and red carnations at every table. I loved the funky red filament bulbs on this floor. The bar and open terrace is on the upper floor, and this place seemed quite popular with the international crowd.
Service was reasonably good. The chef comes to the table to help you with the ordering and the owner also chips in with her suggestions and asks after you. They definitely take a forward step towards hospitality, but they are tad averse to accepting their errors. More about that later… let’s get on with the meal.
Spicy Mojito (₹550) was an interesting take on the regular mojito with a green chilli on the side. Fiery but brilliant. I loved its taste with the chilli cutting the sweetness of the mojito.
Pumpkin Shrimp Soup (₹350) was served as a platter containing few fried shrimps in the center and a smooth and thick soup of bright yellow poured on top of it in the bowl. The soup tasted amazing and it was wholesome. However, I felt it would have been taken to another level if there was a smattering of fried onions on top.
Tostada Platter (₹550) blew me away. They were awesome crispy flat taco type wafer of 3-inch diameter with toppings of spicy potato chorizo that’s sauteed with onions and garnished with molten cheese, lettuce, and sour cream. The platter also included pulled chicken with refried beans, onions, chipotle sauce and tomato with a hint of cinnamon, and finally, a shrimp with salsa and chipotle mayo. It was absolutely yum!
Pork Belly Special (₹750) had grilled pieces of pork belly tossed in adobo sauce served with corn, apple, pineapple, potato cake, and mozzarella. It was full of pork belly fat and tasted all right, but definitely not special.
Tres Leches (₹395) was awesome. This is a chilled sponge cake soaked in evaporated milk, condensed milk, and cream. Hence, three types of milk had gone into preparing this. It is soft, melts in the mouth, and feels good.
Apple Tart (₹350) was great, too. I loved the crunchy puff pastry on which the apple slices were layered and baked to perfection.
Overall, the experience was great, till the bill came up. I don’t know whether it was accidental or conveniently overlooked, but the tax for alcohol was computed on the full food bill, which was incidentally pointed out by me. The nonchalant and unapologetic fashion in which the ‘error ‘ was accepted and corrected, was little off-putting. Usually, I don’t recheck the taxes in the bill, and this error would have cost me around five hundred bucks!
On the steeper side. A meal for two with a drink and dessert will cost around ₹3500 to ₹4000.