Please note, this venue is now closed. Time Out Eating & Drinking editors, Nov 2016.
The people behind La Bodega Negra in Soho – the one with the neon ‘Peep Show/Adult Video’ frontage – have now opened a relatively understated branch of their speakeasy-style Mexican bar and restaurant in Shoreditch. What was once the elegant-looking Great Eastern Dining Rooms has had its interior ripped out, and it’s been made to look like a squat in Peckham circa 1985. Tat art on black-painted walls, coloured lightbulbs dangling from casually strung wires, folding metal chairs and dark patterned rugs on the floors add to the contrivedly shabby look. The main feature is a counter styled like a bar shack in a colonia (shanty town), complete with a corrugated roof and advertising hoardings. A frozen margarita hit the spot, though, with quality tequilas and fruit juices used.
The tacos were the weak link: the pork pibil was missing the expected citrus tang, while the fish tacos tasted overwhelmingly of vinegar from pickled jalapeños. A main course of beef shortrib was the best dish: a big piece of meat had been slow cooked until it was on the point of falling from the bone; its smoky chipotle chilli heat beautifully pepped up with the sharp sweetness of the pineapple salsa. The result was a mariachi band of flavours.
To think too hard about the food is to miss the point. People come to Casa Negra looking for a Shoreditch scene, and as the music cranks up, maybe they’ll find it. The service was cheerful and attentive on our visit – though wearing stone-washed jeans as part of your waitressing outfit is perhaps a shade of irony too far.
|Venue name:||Casa Negra||Contact:|
54-56 Great Eastern Street
|Opening hours:||Meals served noon-midnight Mon-Sat; 6-10.30pm Sun|
|Transport:||Tube: Old Street tube/rail|
|Price:||Main courses £14-£20. Set lunch (noon-3pm Mon-Fri) £9.50 2 courses, £12.50 3 courses|
|Do you own this business?|
Average User Rating
3 / 5
- 5 star:6
- 4 star:1
- 3 star:3
- 2 star:3
- 1 star:5
I've been here a number of times and its always been great. The staff are extremely friendly and know the menu inside out. The portions are small but this place is about quality not quantity, order a variety and don't leave without trying the frozen margaritas! Great music accompanies the food and the DJs seamlessly transition the place from a restaurant into bar/night spot.
Its just not very good....And its super expensive.
Pay the same amount and go to Lupita - at least its good!
Bit disappointing really. Amazing surroundings, but there was I thought a lack of attention to detail and consistency on the food. Amazing quesadilla, but both the main courses were so-so. I had sea bass that was just too salty so you couldn't taste any other flavour. My friend's chicken was also average. Not good when the food is priced at well above average.
We had a group booking for around 15 people, and as such were forced to order from the £40p.p set menu. In short; the food was a disgrace...the quantity was by no means enough and almost everyone was left still feeling hungry, and more upsettingly the quality was extremely poor. One of our courses was literally a bowl of melted cheese, with a few crumbs of minced meat on top...and it wasnt even nice cheese. The stuffed peppers - again; pretty much just a plate of melted cheese. And worse still; the staff seemed to deliberately leave huge lengths of time between courses so that we had ordered around 4-5 cocktails each by the time the meal finished! Would definitely not recommend this place.
Going out on a Saturday night without reservations can be problematic in London, but we were seated here with no problem. The staff were hospitable and friendly, and the vibe relaxed and intimate.I like how the drinking lounge is separate to the restaurant, so you can go for 'dinner' or 'drinks' as separate occasions. I recommend sampling something from the extensive cocktail menu, even if it's only for an excuse to watch the bartenders' enjoyment making their cocktail creations! Don't expect too much alcohol-absorbing from the bar food though; whilst delicious and of Latino-influenced ingredients, they ain't grande portions. Ali
I've eaten at Casa Negra a few times now and, after another great experience last night, I really can't recommend it enough! The food is delicious, the cocktails are gorgeous and it has a cool vibrant ambience. It's my first choice to take friends visiting London. The playroom (downstairs from the restaurant) is pretty fun too if you fancy some post dinner drinks and some good music.
Went to Casa Negra last night and had a rocking time. The staff gave us a really great night, happy smiling faces very knowledgeable, and steered us towards some delicious cocktails. We ate some great tacos - pork and braised beef tongue, which was surprisingly delicious. The fried chicken main was also a really good dish. Def will return.
I have never written a review online before but felt compelled to do so reading the no so great reviews here. I have been to Casa Negra three times now and each one was better than the last. I love the food - seabass tacos, ensalada verde, beef rib and sweet potatoes being my favourite. I'm not a drinker so can't comment except to say the Jax Colada non alcoholic cocktails were delicious. My mates had a selection tray of margaritas each (!) and loved them all. At the end of dinner we all went down to the Playroom - fantastic DJ - and more margaritas were ordered... need I say more.
This is the worst food for the money I have ever had in London - disgusting, over-priced unauthentic food. This restaraunt gives London food a very bad name. Having eaten in many, many great places I would urge you to stay away. Major dissapointmen Ps- I can never be bothered to write a review ordinarily
The music was really really loud (and bad taste) so we could hardly hear each other. It was RnB from about 15 years ago! Just didn't feel right for the setting. Taco's were nice but don't go for the stuffed chilli as a main as its pretty bland and overpriced! It was a large chilli fried and stuffed with melted cheese. Nothing special and I don't know how they can charge £15 for it! We won't be returning. A disappointment.
Really really really poor. Was excited to try this new restaurant as I love Mexican food. Thoroughly disappointed. The place reeks with pretension, from the tiny portions to the arrogant staff. Not really sure which elements of the menu are Mexican, I believe the suckling pig we shared was shown a chipotle before it died and though the menu contains pinto beans, they have not been refried. There are few elements of a 'Mexican' menu to be recognised. The lack of foresight and care in the menu is perhaps best evidenced by the fact the suckling pig for 2 comes with 5 (tiny) taco sized raps. Awful, really overpriced and completely disappointing. Avoid at all costs.
This place is really overpriced. The food portions are tiny, really not worth it. I do not mind paying a fair whack for a good meal, but it just lacks the wow factor to justify the prices.
Big eating and drinking session last Thursday with my team of seven from work. I was a fan of GEDR and was sad to see it go but Casa Negra is a commendable replacement. We went for the set menu, the delivery of which was perfectly paced and the quality first-rate . I'm not sure if we were just lucky with the waiter but he was exceptionally knowledgeable about mexican food and drink and his explanations of both added to the whole experience. I've found that the new appreciation for high end "real " tequila has cured me of my previous tequila policy (which had been based on getting sick from shots at bars". . We ate and drunk all night like Mexican drug kingpins and the bill was pretty reasonable (about 60 quid each). I'm gonna come back with my friends one day for sure. We tried to leave but ended up staying in the nice little bar in teh front all night instead
Confession; I’ve never actually eaten in La Bodega Negra. I’ve been on many occasions, but never got so far as sampling the menu. There’s been one too many Friday nights spent propped at the bar, glugging margaritas and sinking shots of tequila, whilst generally acting overtly uncouth for the respectably chic crowd. Truth be told, these mildly debaucherous (and usually highly embarrassing) evenings have successfully ruined any chance of me eating civilised meal there without experiencing traumatic and off-putting flashbacks. So, when I heard a sister restaurant was about to open, I decided to turn a new leaf and start out on the right foot with this one… Casa Negra is the latest venture from dream team partners, restaurateur Will Ricker and nightlife impresario Serge Becker. With neither an inebriated A-list celebrity or sex shop in sight, the duo make their first move out of Soho and into the old Great Eastern Dining Rooms, which Ricker already owned. The newly re-furbed décor gives the place a friendly, carnival vibe; think Mexican ‘pop up’ in a traditional English home – a stark contrast to the dingy, seedy feel of La Bodega. There’s an abundance of quirky coloured lighting, mismatched tables and chairs and a beach-shack bar – I almost forgot I was in Shoreditch, almost. Further transporting me out of a dismal east London was a killer cocktail list packed full of South American classics, specialist tequilas and mezcals. Frozen margaritas are a guaranteed crowd pleaser and there are several fruity varieties on offer, each made with a special Casa Negra agave nectar. Prices are on the steep side, but lets face it, they were never going to be a steal. Be sure to try the ‘Caballo Loco’ a boozy concoction of tequila, maple and bitters – just what the doctor ordered for a Wednesday evening, the perfect mid-week party starter. The menu is short and designed for sharing, just the way I like it. To be honest Mexican food although enjoyable, fails to excite me, mainly because it doesn’t ever bring much new to the table. Casa Negra is different however. I didn’t recognise anything on the menu, which filled me with confidence and I felt reassured that I wasn’t going to be presented with a Wahaca-style burrito and nachos, hallelujah. The smaller plates ranged from £3.50-£5 and the larger main dishes £8-£10, we order a selection of each. Tacos were soft and bursting with fresh flavours, the white fish with chipotle and cabbage and the caramelised Chihuahua cheese being the most notable. The ‘Tostada de Carne Cocida’ a Mexican take on a classic beef tartare with chilli and avocado was another favourite. The dish that stole the meal though was the signature Casa Negra, ‘Carnitas de Lechon’ – it was simply marvellous. Suckling pig confit with hunks of crispy crackling, fiery guacamole and salsas with soft flour tortillas – a kind of Mexican crispy duck and pancakes. It was sensational but at £36, so it should be. Big appetites beware, although the food is spot on, the portions are small and at times miniscule. But hey as the saying goes, some of the best things come in small packages. Lets get one thing straight, Casa Negra is not the place you come to get full; it’s not a dirty food, how-quickly-can-you-eat-a-footlong kind of establishment. It’s a sexy little place with a cool vibe, ideal for groups who want to work their way through a sophisticated cocktail menu and pick over the odd dish here and there. With the immanent opening of ‘The Playroom’ a late-licence basement club beneath the restaurant, the dynamics of Casa Negra are set to shift even further away from the food. It’s destined to become a stylish drinking venue that happens to serve pretty damn good Mexican food. With a lack of decent bars this end of town especially ones that haven’t been infiltrated by the whole cast of TOWIE and their sidekicks, many will welcome this hip addition to the east, myself included. I can see this one going the same way La Bodega did, oh well – one more tequila won’t harm.
Casa Negra is my new favourite East London hang-out! The staff are absolutely LOVELY and the food and drink are equally as good. I ended up having three of their tequila cocktails which were AWESOME (cannot believe I used to be a tequila-sceptic!) Food-wise produce was of very high quality, prepared in the most interesting and authentic take on Mexican food I’ve come across in London, making it excellent value too! Book a table before they get too busy you can’t!
Very disappointing food, I've tasted much better Mexican in London and cheaper. Portions were also small, I had to ask the waiter whether they had messed up and given us the small Guacamole but no the tiny portion we got was large and cost 8.50. All in all a very disappointing experience, I definitely wouldn't go back for more.
Bowled over by the gracious, attentive and welcoming staff. Charming hosts guided us through the restaurant, relaying an exciting narrative behind the whole thing, while chefs chatted away about the food they were preparing and equally knowledgable and sweet waiters helped us navigate the super cool mexican menu that comes as a magazine, (which we got to take home!) One of the managers even came to check on our experience - we sat at their gorgeous new marble kitchen counter! Not merely because they have just opened but the team seemed genuinely excited and proud to be part of such a cool new opening. We would go back every day of the week just to hang out!
Lovely casual interior space and design. Obnoxious/arrogant management, charming waiters, very good cocktails. The food was very hit and miss, some positively flavorless - E.G. Frijoles Charros - so dull!. The quality of the ingredients used seemed pretty good though. Fairly expensive for what it was. All agreed that a return visit may have occurred if it wasn't for the egomania of the management. I won't bore you with the details, trust me the guy is a .........