CONTRIBUTOR POST: Dinner in a sex shop

in Sip & Bite
…and the DJ looks like Jesus. HIP MUCH?

Looks can be deceiving. Beneath a saucy Soho sex shop store front, La Bodega Negra reveals itself as an intimate, classy little joint. At first my friends Daen and Rox were alarmed at walking into the entrance aptly named COME, not knowing what the hell I had booked for.

But once you follow the friendly welcome and perfectly controlled check-in, you are escorted to a downstairs lair of moody lighting, consistently upbeat music and a fun room filled with Latino funk.

We felt like we arrived at a party.

This trendy Mexican eatery (another baby of Serge Becker, “cultural engineer”of La Esquina in NYC) attracts all kind of folk, from hipsters to old ‘ballies’ and their wives having per-theatre dinner and margaritas. They seemed completely out of place, but who are we to judge, we gigglishly walked into a sex shop.

Design and interior are great talking points, from the exposed grand piano, giant reclaimed word art, the cardboard city skyline (designed by Shoreditch set designer, Eden), nacho libre meets body world portrait, and the bar of a 100 tequilas. This place is sexy, but not scary, I found it thrilling and unique in its character. (What a refreshing change to the all American diner now trending on every other London street corner. The burgers are good but yawn.)

The menu consist of tasting plates of good-looking cerviche and signature tacos, however following the irritating London fashion of a strict 2 hour sitting, there is no time to linger or relax (they’re at least friendly in telling you to get up and leave). Don’t come here for a full-on dinner, best to stick to plenty of cocktails like the Tijuana Whore and many plates of lamb in drunken salsa.

If you want to plan some nightlife into your taco & liquor feast, then rock up for a later reservation where you can marvel at the restaurant turning into a subterreanean ghetto bar complete with Jesus looking DJ and beautiful people dancing all over the place.

Overall La Bodega Negra covers all the bases, just enough cool. I love how someone else called it “Sex Mex”.