Mexico meets Los Angeles at East Brisbane’s new taqueria La Bodega
A busy corner site on Lytton Road is now home to a terracotta-coloured taqueria by the name of La Bodega. Here, plates of al pastor and steak asada tacos are turned out alongside baked layered enchiladas, bowls of oven-roasted padron peppers and scoops of horchata ice-cream. And soon it’ll also be serving boozy slushies and tequila-laced cocktails. Take a peek …
By and large, bodegas are dedicated to selling essentials. While tacos might not be considered essential next to, say, toothpaste, for someone like Tim Glasson – operations manager at new East Brisbane taco joint La Bodega – Mexican cuisine is a regular fixture of his weekly dining roster. “We eat Mexican probably once or twice a week – it’s something that you can come back to pretty happily,” Tim says. “It’s hard to get sick of it, too, because there’s so much you can do with it.” Mexican cuisine’s evergreen appeal is the driving inspiration behind La Bodega, which opened to the public in late-October on the corner of Lytton Road and Latrobe Street, just next to Sushi Kotobuki. Here, Mexican cuisine by way of Los Angeles is the focus, with nods to the LA food-truck scene shaping La Bodega’s menu of approachable fare, which, as you might expect, is big on tacos. It’s an offering that can be enjoyed any night of the week when the pantry is looking bare or boring. “It’s something that’s neighbourhood friendly and really well priced so that locals don’t feel hesitant to come a couple times a week if that’s what they’re feeling,” says Tim. “Can’t be bothered cooking? Just run down to La Bodega.”
In a terracotta-hued space adorned by cacti and illuminated by festoon lights, guests can sit down to a menu divided into starters, tacos, large plates, salads, sides and desserts. Appetite whetters like house-fried tortilla chips (served with you choice of guac or salsa roja), chargrilled street corn lathered in Bodega house crema and chicken wings doused and tossed in spicy chipotle sauce are great dishes to begin with, and are an ideal launching pad towards La Bodega’s taco selection. In the kitchen, a slowly spinning vertical TROMPO grill lovingly cooks La Bodega’s adobe pork al pastor, which is carved and served on tortillas with grilled pineapple salsa and a sprinkling of slaw. Though a must-try option, you’d be remiss to skip La Bodega’s other taco selections, which include Yucatan chicken with chipotle crema, grilled rump steak asada with chimichurri, Tecate-battered barramundi, slow-cooked Mojo jackfruit with grilled queso. As for the larger gear, be sure to keep an eye out for La Bodega’s enchilada – a layered number reminiscent of a Mexican-style lasagna. La Bodega’s liquor licence is on its way – once it arrives Tim will be channeling his extensive bar experience into a beverage menu boasting Mexican beers, tequila and mezcal, built drinks (margaritas and palomas are a given) and slushy machines churning out refreshingly zesty sips. “I’m really excited to play around with those sort of things, especially the slushies,” says Tim. “I don’t want people to be thinking it’s just slushy – I want to use my background in high-end cocktail bars to make really banging recipes that use interesting ingredients.” Non-alcoholic drinks are expected to be a big focus moving forward as well, with agua fresca, horchata and agua de Jamaica (an iced-tea drink made from dried hibiscus flowers) to be added to the menu. Oh, and a fridge near the kitchen will soon be stocked with La Bodega’s own corn chips and hot sauces – essentials for those that can’t get enough Mexican cuisine in their lives.
The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Brisbane dining guide with more than 2400 places to eat, drink, shop and play.