Filipino restaurants with unique concepts never fail to make me happy and proud. I was super excited when I heard that the team behind Dampa is setting up a new Filipino restaurant, Bodega, which is focused on street food!
It opened last year and I immediately gave it a try. Bodega was still on dry run that time that's why I decided not to blog about it yet. The menu already had the exotic Pinoy grilled items like chicken feet and ass, but it wasn't really focused on Filipino food. They were serving street food from around the world (Pho from Vietnam, Tacos from Mexico, Satay from Indonesia) which I actually liked. The concept did not create a major buzz though.
During my third visit, I was surprised to know that Bodega is temporarily closed. The staff said Dampa has to use Bodega's kitchen for some reason. I never had the chance to check it out again until I heard that Bodega Streetfood was relaunched. And it turned out to be better than ever!
Bodega Streetfood is a funky hole-in-the-wall eatery in Deira, located just beside its famous sister restaurant, Dampa Seafood Grill. Walls are covered with eye-catching (and mind-boggling) graffiti! Words like "Sh*t Happens. Good thing we got grill" are plastered on one side. Not a fan of the witty swearing, but I think this restaurant simply embrace the street concept and that includes words which are usually found in street vandalism.
Music can get so loud. Hence, I do feel that Bodega is not an ideal place for some serious talks. It is a place to chill out, eat with gusto using your hands, and have a fun and loud conversation. After all, this restaurant is all about street style dining.
|a newly opened Bodega Streetfood - photo taken last year|
|Bodega's concept: cool, casual, street-style|
|The kitchen window looks like a sari-sari store. How cool!|
Bodega Streetfood's menu was revamped. The best-selling Street BBQs are still available, but some of the International street food were taken out. They replaced it with interesting choices like Holy Cow (Filipino beef dishes), The Burger Mama (a huge hamburger good for 3 people) and Uncle's Foot Long (obviously, a foot long hot dog).
New group meals, Street Eats and Grill-your-own streetfood, became such crowd pleasers. These platters made Bodega as busy as Dampa! We actually need to queue to get a table now, except for one night when we went there 30 minutes before Iftar time during Ramadan.
|What to have from Bodega's giant menu board?|
|Bodega Streetfood menu and prices (as of July 2016)|
Here are the dishes that we have tried at the all-new Bodega Streetfood:
This dish is Bodega's best-seller. It is a unique roasted chicken dish, more like lechon manok with a twist. The whole chicken is served sitting on a coke can. It has a distinct taste which left me wondering how it was cooked. The staff said it's a top secret, but he shared the minor deets anyway. The chicken was marinated in cola that's why it has a tinge of sweetness. One serving is good for four people to share. Diners can either order it a la carte or have it as a part of the Street Eats platter together with the Street BBQs.
|Coke-in-Can Chicken is the highlight of Bodega Streetfood's Street Eats platter|
Beef Chicharones Bicol Express
This beef dish is a good option if you want to steer away from grilled items or if you want an appetizing dish on the side. It is cooked like the traditional Bicol Express, but with beef meat, not pork. The meat is tender and the creamy sauce has a good zing to it! It is garnished with siling labuyo, so beware of it if you're not into super spicy stuff.
|Bodega's take on the traditional Pinoy dish, Bicol Express|
I, who grew up in an island famous for chicken inasal, considers chicken bbq as my comfort food. I must admit that I had high hopes for Bodega's version and I was quite disappointed. One serving has 3 sticks of skinless chicken meat on a bed of plain rice. It tastes okay, more scrumptious if dipped in sawsawan. But there's nothing really special that makes me want to order it next time.
|Chicken BBQ - Bodega style|
Ohhh Isaw! Grilled isaw is an ultimate Pinoy street food and I'm glad that Bodega finally introduced it on their menu. It was not there when the restaurant was on dry run. But the thing is, Bodega is serving the beef variety, not the chicken or pork that we are used to! Still, I found it good, perfectly char-grilled and exotically delicious!
To sweetly end a street food meal, Bodega Streetfood offers well-loved Filipino desserts like Halo-Halo, Turon which they wittily named Turon-Tado, and drum roll please... Iskramble! I always have it every time we visit. Bodega's iskramble is a posh (and should I say, cleaner) version of the iskramble I grew up with. It is made of finely shaved ice drenched in creamy milk, topped with mini marshmallows, chocolate syrup and powdered milk.
|Iskramble - a sossy version of the Pinoy beverage usually made in street carts|
All dishes come with unlimited rice. Sodas and Iced Tea are unli as well. Items are moderately priced and the portions are generous! So, this is another Filipino restaurant in Dubai where we can eat to our heart's content!
Centurion Star Building
beside Dampa Seafood Grill
Deira, Port Saeed
Searching for more Pinoy restaurants in Dubai?
Click on these blog posts:
The New Carinderia ni Tandang Sora in Karama
Langhap-Sarap Goodness in Jollibee
Fried Chicken and more in Max's Restaurant
Boodle Fight at Asian Flavors
Lamesa in Asiana Hotel
Seafood Dinner in Dampa Seafood Grill
A Bucket of Joy in Seafood in a Bucket