Go Fork Yourself: La Bodega, Ranelagh
I’d heard a lot a about La Bodega. It’s a rare occurrence that I’d make it down Ranelagh Main Street past the lure of TriBeCa’s wings or Cinnamon’s breakfast brunch but this time I was firm in my goal: La Bodega or bust.
The ambience was buzzy and busy; it’s tough getting a reservation anywhere in Ranelagh on a Friday. Seats were kind of vintage-style, velvet dinner chairs, and the walls were decked out in Spanish portraits to put us in the med mood. It’s a great location for a date as everyone was chatting away and the mood was casual. The dimmed lighting and Latin feel were definitely perfect for a romantic setting.
We ordered two glasses of Tempranillo and six plates of tapas between us. Forgive the lack of español menu names, but I’ll give them the best description I can!
Plate one: Lamb chops on a bed of spicy couscous. There was plenty of the couscous, and it had a real kick which is a break from usual bland couscous that so many establishments peddle. The lamb chops, however, had very little meat and were for the most part fatty. Ultimately disappointing.
Plate two: Meatballs in a spicy sauce topped with grated Manchego cheese. The meatballs were delicious and tender, the sauce was spicy and robust and thankfully there was plenty to mop up, post-meatballs.
Plate three: Fried black pudding with chickpeas topped with garlic bread. This dish was disappointingly bland and would have greatly benefited from some additional seasoning. A sprinkle of thyme or rosemary would’ve really lifted the flavour. Topped off with a rather tough slice of garlic bread that had the consistency of something microwaved.
Plate four: Creamy mushrooms on country loaf. This was the highlight of the tapas. Pure delicious, full of flavour and the bread was soft and soaked up the mushroom sauce like a dream. The winner for sure.
Plate five: Chorizo and country bread. The fried chorizo was served in a fiery chilli-infused dipping oil accompanied with yet more of their floured rustic bread. It was tasty but the bread started to get a bit boring by this point. The chorizo itself was hot and tender with no fatty interruptions.
Plate six: Creamy cheese and jambon croquettes. Crispy outside and smooth inside. I found these overloaded with a very cheesy flavour that was a bit much. I love my cheese, don’t get me wrong, but this was a faux cheese taste that did nothing for me.
Wine: We opted for a 2007 Temparillo at €7.50 per glass, which came to the table warm. The restaurant was full so maybe room temp was higher than normal but this felt like a glass straight from the dishwasher.
After hearing so much about La Bodega and shelling out a considerable whack already we didn’t feel like hanging around for dessert and left a little crestfallen.
My verdict? If you’re looking for an after work bite or a casual vino with mates and finger food then definitely hit up La Bodega. However if you’re looking for a tasty meal for two at a decent price, La Bodega might have the mood but not the food.