Recently I visited La Bodega Negra (LBN) for dinner and drinks on a Saturday night. I had a such a great time that I thought I’d share it because it’s a great destination for dinner and a night out with friends.
LBN is a Mexican restaurant and bar with a twist. It doesn’t have a traditional Mexican vibe, it didn’t transport me back to my holiday in Oaxaca. Instead LBN has a really salacious sexy vibe to it, it’s flirtatious and fun. Even the website is unusual with its old fashioned movie design.
The venue is a dark building with neon lights saying ‘Girls, Girls Girls’, ‘Adult Video’ and ‘Peep show’ (which you just have to have your photo taken in front of to complete your LBN experience!). The bar/restaurant is down some dingy looking stairs behind a curtain, the windows are blacked out, there’s lots of crevices and tunnels.. It’s very well done in terms of looking like an old strip club and the decor, lighting and atmosphere make it quite a unique experience for a central London restaurant and bar.
The food and cocktails are Mexican and based around (although not exclusively) sharing. We ordered a jug of margarita which equated to a couple of small but lethal glasses and then proceeded to order plenty more. The jugs are about £40 each (I can’t find the exact price on the menu) so not cheap but the cocktails are so tasty (and strong) that they can very easily get you drunk without even realising that you’ve had that much!
For food we shared tostados and guacamole and then opted to each get our own tacos – they are perfect for sharing but as I don’t eat much fish, one of my friends doesn’t eat meat and one can’t have gluten it just made sense to order separately. I ordered the char roasted mushroom tacos and the lamb and drunken salsa tacos both of which were delicious. I loved the lamb ones so much that I ordered more of them (resulting in me feeling far too full in leather pants and vowing not to be so greedy next time I go!).
My friends had the crab tacos and the spicy tuna which they also loved. The only slight downside of the food was the spicy chili and cheese which was overly spicy and required a lot of sour cream to be cooled down so not a dish for those who don’t like heat. Finally we shared some churros which were amazing but so rich we couldn’t finish them.
By the time we’d had 3 (maybe 4) jugs of margarita and I’d pigged out on 6 tacos and churros I was about ready to go home for a nanny nap! However my friends are far cooler than me and persuaded me to stay out at the bar for a bit longer. It’s quite a small bar and be warned it gets hot there so I wouldn’t wear anything too heavy (or tight)! They have a DJ playing dance music which plays in both the restaurant (not too loudly) and the bar. I’d recommend getting a booth if you have a decent sized group because you may be able to keep your table a bit longer and turn it into a it more of a ‘night out’ rather than just dinner. The table next to us had a booth and were all doing shots of ‘water’ (blatantly tequila) and they were having a great time partying in their booth. The atmosphere is one of the reasons this place is unique because it feels like a nightclub as much as a restaurant.
Price wise I’d say it’s on the expensive side but it’s not ridiculous and it can be cheaper depending on how much you drink and how greedy you are. My night out came to around £65 and that included a fair amount of booze and (for me) quite a lot of food. The tacos are £6.50, you get two in one serving. They aren’t huge but they are very rich and filling. I can imagine spending more on food if I went with Phil as he’d want to order more and try everything. It’s not a typical date night restaurant (although it could be a fun one) and it’s definitely not the sort of place you’d take your Mum (unless she’s cooler than mine 😉 )!! But for a bit of fun with friends and some tasty food in a really cool venue I’d recommend it whole-heartedly.