1 August 2013

Casa Negra

First of all, I'd like to apologise for the below-par quality of the photographs in this post. I normally use a Lumix GF5 camera with a 25mm lens. Yesterday I was testing out the 14-45mm pancake lens which I was keen to try due to its compactness. Needless to say, it's already packaged up with the receipt, ready to be returned to the shop! Normal service will be resumed in Friday's post!

Caroline               Beth  
A few months back, myself and my friends had a very enjoyable meal at La Bodega Negra in Soho. This Mexican restaurant was the new 'celebrity haunt' frequently visited by the likes of Kate Moss and Kelly Brook. The food was really good but what was most memorable about the place - where you had to walk through what looks like a sex shop to get into the restaurant - was the ambiance, music and decor. 

For this reason, I've been keen to try their new sister restaurant, Casa Negra in Shoreditch. I was immediately impressed with the interior which was very bright and funky and the atmosphere laid back. Much more so than La Bodega Negra which has a more upbeat, chaotic feel. 

There is a separate bar and dining room area. The cute dog-adorned cocktail menu is broad and the barmen were very willing to give their recommendations. The Soul Happiness is a concoction of El Jimador tequila, fresh lemon and homemade watermelon syrup. Despite being served straight up, it was refreshing as well as delicious.

We took our seats in the dining room; some were bus seat style sofas, some metal chairs. I don't often eat in Mexican restaurants and probably for this reason, I was a little baffled by the menu (which is very different from the one in Bodega). To overcome this problem and on the waitress's advice, we ordered a bit of everything - nachos with guacamole to start, tacos, a larger main course to share and a side dish. 

For £5.50, I was a little disappointed with the small amount of tasty guacamole we got with our corn tortilla chips. Can you see it hidden at the back there? 

We ordered three different tacos: Lengua - braised beef tongue, onion and coriander, Cochinita Pibil - achiote & orange braised pork, red onions and black beans, Queso Asada - caramelised chihuahua cheese, sweetcorn and Mexican salsa. These arrived very swiftly. 

The beef tongue taco was tasty, rich and tender but it was the gorgeous chihuahua cheese with the crispy sweetcorn that was the winner for me. I could easily have eaten another two or three of those on my own! The pork taco didn't make a big impression on me - rather mild and nothing too exciting (perhaps I've been spoilt by all that pulled pork I ate last weekend!). 

After eating my three tacos, I was a little disheartened when our main course - the Pollo Dorado con Chilito - arrived. Perhaps we should have ordered one each after all! 

This was spicy fried chicken, cabbage and carrot slaw. I didn't find it anything special to be honest. The spiciness in the sauce was there and the chicken was juicy but the the batter was a little chewy rather than crispy and I was just left feeling a little underwhelmed. Our side dish of fire-roasted sweet potato which came with the tiniest dish of sauce you could imagine, was pleasant. 

I wasn't feeling fulfilled. I was still quite hungry and nothing had blown me away. Perhaps dessert was going to save the day! We ordered the Alfajores - vanilla cookies, dulce de leche and toasted coconut. 

I know it said cookies in the description but I was just expecting something more than three biscuits! Okay, so they were perfectly baked, caramel-oozing little bundles of deliciousness (they really were) but I wanted more from a dessert. I like to need a spoon! I thought these would have been the perfect accompaniment to post-dinner coffees.  

Overall, I came away a little disappointed with my lot. Although the service and food were pretty good, I felt that the portion sizes were a little mis-matched with the prices they were charging. The restaurant does, however, have a nice chilled out atmosphere and I could imagine it being a great place to visit to nibble on tacos and sip cocktails before a big night out in Shoreditch. Just don't expect anything too amazing.

Casa Negra
Bar Service
Waiter Service
Casa Negra on Urbanspoon

In other news, my fascinator has arrived for the Brighton Races next week! What do you think?

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  1. What a let down, have you tried Boho Mexica in Shoreditch ....

    My post - http://zoeamusebouche.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/boho-mexica-shoreditch-delight.html

    The food was delicious and they had seriously tasty desserts!

    I love the Mexican style of eating - with your fingers and messy :)

    1. No but thank you for the recommendation - I really do need to try a really good Mexican because so far the cuisine is failing to win me over! Going to check the blog post out now...


  2. Thats such a shame that it didn't live completely up to the standards of its fellow restaurant, even I have heard good things about them!!
    Completely agree. In my view, no spoon= no dessert!
    Oh well!
    Emily xx
    My Ginger Bread Journey

    1. Exactly! We need spoons, people!

  3. At least you can return the lens, so not much harm done =)
    I haven't had mexican in so long, I need to rectify that soon. Also, Mr Chew looks ADORABLE in your fascinator!

    Teffy || Teffys Perks Blog


    1. Yep, silly lens is going straight back.

      I know what you mean - my task is to find a really good Mexican restaurant. Zoe above recommended one above so might try there next! Possible blogger meet-up??


  4. mmmm, those cookies look so amazing! i hate when i try out new places and i end up disappointed! but i love the excitement of going different places to eat.

    lindsey louise


    1. Exactly Lindsey! Even if the meal is disappointing, I still get so much out of just experiencing these places.

      (and the cookies were pretty awesome)



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