Located around the corner from Birmingham Snow Hill Station is a gem of a place that serves the most incredible South American cuisine. It goes by the name of Bodega Bar and Cantina. It's far away enough from the rush of the Bullring Shopping Centre, but central enough to enjoy the buzzing atmosphere.
Bodega directly translated from Spanish, means 'cellar' or 'wine cellar' and a Cantina is normally a bar near a work place. Something similar to a canteen. All these words definitely are a way to describe the vibe in Bodega and make the place different to every other place within Birmingham.
I first came across the place when the lower ground, Sugarloaf Bar, was hired out for a Christmas party that I attended. Then a friend chose the venue for her birthday. Both times, I enjoyed it immensely and it has slowly become one of my favourite places to eat, that I have introduced to nearly all my friends and family (they should give me commission).
There's an array of burritos, quesadillas, nachos, tacos, as well as some light bite treats (ideal for lunch or have two or three, tapas style) and large plates, so there is something to cater to all appetites, tastes and preferences.
I have tried a lot of the menu - this is one of my favourite places in my home town - but recently they have slightly altered things for the better and it is like rediscovering a long lost friend. I always tend to go for the Mahi Mahi fish (pictured), which is served with sweet potato mash and chunky tomato chutney. It used also come with a side salad, but this has been changed to corn on the cob. The best thing about this dish is the green chutney that accompanies it; it gives the mash and fish a bit of a kick because they can sometimes be quite bland. Needless to say, this dish is always demolished quickly. I have even tried to copy it at home but it's just not the same.
The burritos are also amazing here; they are fully loaded with a choice of 4 fillings and are accompanied with the house salad, sweet potato fries and a trio of guacamole, salsa and sour cream. There is also a smaller option for people who want the burrito without the dips and fries. The burrito is always a little crispy but soft on the inside with the right amount of cheese and salad, which would leave any foodie's stomach satisfied.
As well as the food being good, the service is always impeccable. The staff are friendly, are able to give you advice about the menu and always try to be as accommodating as they can with any little extras.
It's a little pricey at around a tenner a person, but considering the portions and quality of the food, I think it's well worth it.
The only qualm I have with the place is the size of the venue. It's just too small, and as it gets busy really quickly, a reservation is a must. Aside from that, I cannot fault this place. Every time I've been I have thoroughly enjoyed it (and so has my stomach).
Mexican/South American cuisine is starting to become more popular in Birmingham. As far as I know there's only one other place, more of a fast food chain, in the area, whilst Bodega is about good satisfying food. So, whenever my friends come back into Birmingham, we all know that this is where we want to go, no questions asked.
Whenever you are in Birmingham, head over to Bennett's Hill and try it out. Trust me, you won't regret it.