As the restaurant was quite dark, I would like to apologise ahead for my not-so-fabulous photos. The menu is quite quirky in its options - from Steamed Milk Buns to Stuffed Zucchinis and Veal Sweetbreads...the ordering process was a far cry from easy. The great thing about Bodega, or tapas in general, is that everything is designed to be shared which means you get a bit of everything, to my absolute delight :D
Our kind friend J volunteered to drive, so we decided it was only fair that we all stuck to a non-alcoholic drink so that she wouldn't feel left out. The kind staff was happy to whip up a fruity soda/juice drink for us that tasted incredibly delicious. I think it was full of apple, orange and passionfruit flavours...yum!
The Fish Fingers ($22) were highly recommended by a fellow co-worker and my god she was right. Fresh Hiramasa Kingfish, Mojama and Cuttlefish lied delicately on top of four hot Charred Toasts with fragrant toppings of onions. I think the seafood was seasoned really well as the flavours were so refreshing and beyond all, super tasty. A MUST-ORDER!
The Buttermilk Pancake with Salt Cod, 62 Degree Egg, and Smoked Maple butter ($16) was a pretty dish that was in all its glory, rich, creamy and sweet. The cod tasted a bit like a potato croquette and was a tad bit too salty yet it somehow seemed to work with the buttery sweet pancake and the gooey egg (once we broke it). Quite a unique order...
The Pork, Octopus, Cabbage & Green Apple Salad ($22) was as perfect a summer salad can be. Dressed in Jalepeno, the salad was fresh and texturally fun with a combination of crispy bites from the apple and dried pork and soft tender bites from the octopus. Usually I'm hesitant on savoury food mixing with sweet fruits like apple but surprisingly, and amazingly, Bodega made it work. If only I could remake this on my own at home...
The Pork Sausage ($18) was a beautiful take on the San Choy Bao system where we wrapped our juicy meat in a lettuce leaf with a dollop of Chilli Sofrito and Pickles. No meat lover will object to this dish. It was simple yet so good!
Scallops, Morcilla, Braised Cabbage, Tahini Sandwich ($18) was definitely one of the most interesting scallop dishes I've ever had. As they only came in threes, we ordered two serves of this, so what you see below is actually a combination of two orders.
Organised like a mini taco sandwich, these scallops were a rich splurge in the mouth. Creamy, flavoursome and tender with a slight crunch from the Tahini sandwich - definitely not for the faint-hearted. The scallops were also seared to perfection with a small char-grilled surface...swoon...
When I showed this photo to my super healthy co-worker, she literally gasped in horror.
To the contrary, my smile only widened with excitement as I laid my eyes on this Slow Cooked Brisket ($28). Topped with two gooey fried eggs, a scramble of fried onion rings and drizzled with BBQ sauce...this is quite possibly the perfect hangover dish! The brisket was really tender and it went well with the sauce and all the other tasty condiments on the plate. And yes, egg and onion rings are ALWAYS a good idea :)
The Grilled Calamari with Pickled Tomato, Ink and Mustard Greens ($18) were nice but not spectacular - it was similar to the salad we had ordered previously but the calamaris were tasty nonetheless.
The Steamed Pork Belly with Clams and Sherry Ramen Sauce ($24) was another heavy-looking delight. We were so thankful that we were sharing everything :P It definitely makes a difference when you're just eating a small handful from each dish.
The pork belly was well-cooked and the flavours from the sauce sunk right through however the girls weren't too pleased with the clams. They apparently had a farm-like after taste...yes you might be wondering what the hell that means but honestly I'm just relaying what my friend have said. Personally I don't eat clams so I didn't try it out but I'm guessing they were not too pleasing for the rest of the table.
For dessert, we ordered all 3 of the main options (minus the Cheese Plate) and again, I must highlight, the joys of sharing with a group means more dessert try-outs! :D
The Mango, Lemon Sorbet, & Salted Caramel ($16) was a summery dessert that ticked all the right boxes for fresh fruity flavours with a sprinkle of extra sweetness from the caramel.
Most of us were not a fan of The Banana Spit Cream Flan, Banana Marshmallow with Dulce de Leche Ice Cream ($16) - well, except for A :P
For me, it was just too bitter and even the ice cream didn't go down well for some reason. Oh wells...
The Chocolate Pudding ($16) however was one of the best chocolate desserts I've ever had. It may look like a bar here but in fact, it is a soft mousse-like textured pudding with smooth and rich chocolatey flavours - guaranteed to send all chocolate lovers into the highest of spirits. Accompanied by Milk Ice Cream, Hazelnuts and Frozen Apple, this is definitely the dessert to go with at Bodega! Everyone kept coming back for a scoop here and there before we finally licked the plate clean.
Overall, the vibe at Bodega is very chic and modern - perfect for a casual catch up with friends over some wine and good tapas. The dishes were all so unique and the flavours definitely impressed. Staff were also very helpful and friendly with explaining all the food upon serving them and were attentive to our needs.
Price wise, I would say it can get expensive, especailly if you have big hearty appetites like my group and if you order alot of wine I guess. As I recall, the final bill for all of the above came to be about $300, so around $60 per person (there were 5 of us).
The space itself isn't so big so make sure you book beforehand to ensure no disappointments :)
Bodega Tapas Bar
216 Commonwealth Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010