It’s not every day you can dine in a restaurant with a menu designed by a Chef who has previously made dishes for Eric Clapton and J-Lo.
Bodega popped up on Elm Row in place of German restaurant Frankfurter Eck.
Branding itself as Edinburgh’s first tacqueria, a Spanish word for a convenience store, the small Mexican restaurant has arrived in the city by a stroke of fate.
Co-owner of the venture, John Howard, said: “I was living in Texas and my business partner Blair was in New York, we fell in love with texmex food. My brother lives in LA and there are loads of food trucks there selling this style of food but I’d not seen anything like it in Edinburgh.
“I was walking down Elm Row and saw the space was empty so I spoke to the landlord. He explained the couple who used to own the German restaurant had split up and moved back to Germany so there was space to open something new.”
With a space to fill, the duo set out to make the experience as true to the origins of their ideas as possible creating an authentic menu with two chefs, Ben Fanin and Alex Padilla.
It is not only the food that is authentic, as Bodega also ship in soft drinks Jarritos from Mexico.
For Chef Ben Fanin this is no strange concept as he used to design menus for high profile bands and artists on tour, cooking up a storm for the likes of Eric Clapton, and Alex Padilla has grown up with the Mexican cooking regime preparing the dishes on a day-to-day basis.
The result – a Mexican tacqueria combined with West Coast street food.
John said: “The menu ranges across Mexican dishes, but all the mains are tacos. We have pulled pork with barbecue flavouring, an orange pop beef made with the Jarritos drink which is like a fanta equivalent in Mexico. We have seven or eight tacos on the menu that change every so often.”
Using corn tortillas rather than the crisp version, the restaurant serves up a range of dishes with starters including corn chips, sopa de tortilla and ceviche, a Peruvian dish made fresh for each order.
Based on a sharing food concept, each taco dish is served in pairs from the grilled prawn tacos with chipotle lime dressing to the blue corn fried fish tacos.
For a sweet hit, you can enjoy a sorbet, doughnut kebab or the special crocodile lime avocado and pear pie, but with a range that changes weekly the restaurant may just surprise you.
Opening from 5pm to 10pm on Wednesday to Friday and 12pm to 10pm on Saturday and Sundays, the restaurant is looking to expand their openings in the future.
John said: “I’ve lived in Edinburgh for 12 years and I think Leith needs places like this, restaurants that are not extortionate and it’s a nice vibe.
“We’re getting a licence to create a small drinks menu and we’re launching our own hot sauce for the tables too, we’ll see how it all goes down.”
Check out Bodega’s menu below:
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