Rodell's, situated a five minute walk away from Watford Junction train station, is a small family owned tapas style restaurant.
Quirky and unconventional are two words which instantly sprung to mind when stepping through the entrance into the bar and dining area.
The décor, music and especially the menu are an amazing fusion from all over the World. This mixture of East and West, not to mention everything in between, makes Rodell's a place where everyone can find something to enjoy.*
I was especially pleased with the friendly and relaxed atmosphere. Although I had never visited before, I felt instantly at home. It was almost like I had arrived at a friend's house for a dinner party. It's ideal for anyone going on a first date. You can't help but feel at ease.
One of the quirky little perks of this establishment is that the menu changes every single day so you'll never be bored. Plus at great prices, usually about £6 per tapas dish, you can afford to order a few different ones which means you never have to make that tough choice between two of your favourite meals.
Lila, our waitress, was friendly and helpful. Even when we were being indecisive, and stuck for ideas on what to order, she patiently described each tapas dish to us and made thoughtful recommendations based on our dietary requirements. Eventually we decided on our top six.
Malay Devil's Chicken This dish was one of Lila's many recommendations and it certainly lived up to it's name 'Devil's Chicken'. To say it was hot would be an understatement. That being said, it was very good and the chunky ginger added a different element of spice in addition to the chilli. Lila also promised us that it was so spicy it would help get rid of a cold... She was spot on.**
Rodell's Fish Pie This dish was lucky enough to become one of my top three. Chunks of salmon with creamy mash and a crunchy topping. Perfect comfort food, especially in the winter months. Definitely something I will be ordering again.
Singapore Fried Noodles these noodles were probably my favourite part of the menu. Full of flavour and not too heavy, a great alternative to rice or potato dishes. Plus, you can order them with or without belly pork making them vegetarian and carnivore friendly which is always good.
Goats Cheese & Bok Choy Tartlet This rustic little treat was perfect. Although I would say it's a bit too much for one person to eat if they are planning on consuming a few other dishes as well. It's was quite filling but so tasty that it was definitely worth ordering.
Lemon Prosecco Risotto The risotto was nice but I personally could take it or leave it in hindsight. I enjoyed it at the time but looking back on the evening it just doesn't stand out as a favourite compared to the others. I would probably have changed it for the 'Gambas Al Pil Pil' which is simply described on the menu as 'Spicy Prawns Spanish Style'. I'm intrigued, I'll have to remember them for next time.
Patatas Bravas Last but by no means least, these bad boys were a lot spicier than expected but they added a nice kick to our other relatively safe menu choices (with the exception of the Malay Devil's Chicken of course). They are definitely worth ordering if you enjoy spicy foods.
Mario, the owner, is extremely passionate about his restaurant and the food it serves.
Whilst we were enjoying our meal, Mario came over to introduce himself and told us about what else usually goes on in the restaurant. The list was almost endless.
Amongst hosting Halloween and Christmas themed parties and lunches, Rodell's also changes the upstairs dining rooms around on a monthly basis and occasionally uses one of them as a cinema.
Even more amazingly, the day after our visit, Rodell's was hosting their first 'Hangover Lock-in Lunch'. A fantastic concept where people pay a flat rate then enjoy a whole afternoon of food, fun, games and films. The staff join in and it's a lot less 'restaurant' and a whole lot more 'hanging out with your friends after a night out'. I sincerely hope this becomes a permanent fixture as I'd love to have a chance to join in at some point.
Rodell's is the only restaurant I have been to which just does what it feels like and doesn't worry about anything except amazing food, great company and making sure everyone has a memorable night.
Mario isn't afraid to experiment with new and sometimes unusual ideas and I find that refreshing. Unique and full of surprises, it is a place I would recommend whole-heartedly.