Bodega, Derby


Whenever I think of South American cuisine, I’m typically driven towards nachos, quesadillas, tacos, burritos… you get the drill. So when Derby’s newest restaurant, Bodega, opened up in the Cathedral Quarter with a promise of traditional South American cuisine, I took this as my opportunity to branch out a little.

Don’t get me wrong… girl loves a nacho as much as the next person, and I did a tiny drool when I saw the table next to me devour a large plate of them. BUT, I knew there was more to the South American life than a tortilla based dish.

But first, cocktails.

The bar area of Bodega was brimming with girlfriends catching up over cocktails and couples enjoying a beer and a light bite. There was a really good atmosphere, and even though I'd say it was predominantly a food place, I'd definitely recommend popping in for a cocktail and nachos before a night out.

Now, I am so down for a margarita, but when it’s a blueberry and elderflower margarita, I’m thinking it ought to be on tap. This went down far too well, and I would quite happily sit at the bar and drink them all day.

Rob ordered a Queen of the Night pale ale and really enjoyed it. Their beer menu was very extensive, however Rob’s only qualm was that there was no information about the beers on there. The menu just stated the name of the beer and the ABV, so it was a bit of a lucky dip as to what kind of beer you got.

When ordering your starters, I’d suggest two or three of the light bites between two people. I was dying for Rob to try out ceviche, as he’d never tried it before, so we ordered that and the jalepos – crispy coated jalapeno peppers with a delicious lime mayo.

I must admit, these two dishes were quite a contrast and probably not the best pairing, but I was so desperate for Rob to see what all of the ceviche fuss was about.

Fresh seabass cooked in citrus juices with lashings of mango, pineapple, ginger and pomegranate seeds in tiger’s milk – topped with fresh red chilli. It was zingy, fresh, and a complete taste sensation.


The Jalepos was also incredible in its own right – usually if I order breaded jalapenos, they tend to fall apart a bit. These stayed very intact, and the cream cheese oozed out so perfectly.

We made another drinks order – this time I tried the Passionfruit and Lychee Cooler, and Rob had a Pacifico beer, which he informed me worked very well alongside the dishes we ate!

When it came to our mains, we were so torn by everything on the menu. That’s a good sign – when there’s nothing you don’t want to eat! Eventually, Rob opted for the Lomo Saltado, and I went for the Brazilian Xim Xim.

Brazilian Xim Xim is an iconic Brazilian dish of chicken and prawns, in a deliciously thick creamy peanut butter sauce. Served with ‘dirty rice’ and crispy tortilla on the side.

Rob’s Lomo Saltado is a Peruvian classic, influenced by their Chinese culture and we could totally see this in the presentation of the dish. Marinated steak with crispy potatoes and onions were flash fried in a wok, and teamed up with fresh herbs, soy sauce, red wine and shot of Pisco (Peruvian brandy). Served with plain rice.

We got so envious of each other’s food we had to swap half way through just so we could try both dishes!

Bodega is nestled at the bottom of Sadler Gate, right next to Brooklyn Social, and I would strongly recommend going for dinner here before your next night out. The decor is super cool, and the atmosphere even cooler, and there are some incredible deals to be had, including cocktail Happy Hour and Taco Tuesdays!

It’s right in the hub of Derby’s cocktail scene, and a hit for the beer lovers too with new bars Suds & Soda and Hop Gate very close by, so you should absolutely stop by for some tapas with their light dishes, or go for a bigger dish to line your stomach before you ingest all of those margaritas, am I right?!

To see the menu, click here.

Bodega is also located in Leicester, Birmingham and Worcester. To find your closest venue, take a look on their website.

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