So we were finally able to try out La Bodega's newest addition in Sahel, and let me tell you, we were not disappointed! Delectable dishes, inspired music selections and a spectacular atmosphere made for one memorable evening.
So we headed up to Sahel this weekend, for no particular reason other than to enjoy some time by the sun-soaked seaside and work on our tans in the precious few weekends we have left before Ramadan sweeps the nation. It is getting to the point where we must make each weekend count before the month of hunger and card games and no Sahel comes along.
We proceeded to spend a wonderful day at the beach, at the beginning of which we thought we were sun-kissed, but we soon realized that was an understatement and that sun-fucked was a much more appropriate term. The only way we could think to numb the pain of our blistering skin was lots of wine, and perhaps some food to comfort us in our sunburned sorrows. We considered a variety of fast food options before someone cleverly pointed out that La Bodega in Sahel had just opened up and that we should go and enjoy a fabulous meal there, which did sound a lot more appetizing than some greased-up fried crap.
Unaware of the crazy massive distance between the compound we were staying at (virtually empty, barring a few gardeners chilling and tending to plants) on a stretch of coast way at the start of Sahel, which literally couldn’t have been further from La Bodega's Marassi venue, we drove on and on, thinking we would never make it and that no place could possibly be worth this horrifically long and torturous drive. But then – after what seems like seventeen years trapped in a car – we made it to Marassi and La Bodega turned out to be totally worth the drive! We downright fell in love with the resto-bar's gorgeous exterior, which was like a beautiful house in Architectural Digest and a cottage from the English countryside whose walls were covered in lush plants had a baby together and then chose to move their child by the sea.
It was all palm trees and fuchsia flowers growing on the walls, with an outdoor area right on the sea, and an indoor area – for those people who can't handle Sahel's nighttime chill, which somehow, year after year, still manages to come as a surprise. We almost sat in the indoor area, which had a beautiful emerald-tiled bar and a cool chic-rustic feel, but the view and the atmosphere were so nice that we decided to brave it and chose an outdoor table. Being already shwasted by the time we arrived, naturally, when we were greeted by to two very friendly owners/managers, we may or may not have spilled the entire contents of our bag as we got up to say hello. Wasn’t embarrassing. Wasn’t embarrassing at all.
We ordered up, each of us trying a different dish, and also getting another bottle of wine though we really, really, didn’t need any further inebriation. The mushroom risotto was downright amazing, probably the best one we've tasted in the country so far. When we ordered it the waiter apologized and said he only had fresh mushrooms available. OH NO, ONLY FRESH MUSHROOMS?? HOW TERRIBLE!! It was the perfect blend of home-style and gourmet, and we attacked the dish like there was no tomorrow. The fillet was tender and beautifully juicy, coupling itself perfectly with the wine.
It turns out, La Bodega's resident chef's been cooking up a storm in Milan for 35 years, and, as one of the owners sheepishly admitted to us, "I poached him from my favourite restaurant." Well done on the poaching, if we do say so ourselves. If we get to treat our taste buds to amazing Indian chicken then we are all for poaching.
And to top it all off, the music complemented the place perfectly. It started out with chiller tunes, where one of our friends was damn near jizzing his pants over how good the music was – think Arctic Monkeys and Alt-J – and then as it got a little later, the DJ took over with some cool House beats, adding a little energy to the place.
So far, it's one of our favourite beachside venues on the coast. It's upscale without being stuffy, but ditch the flip-flops - there is a dress code. We imagine it'll be perfect for some classy evening Sahel dining, and once the clock strikes Cinderella's bedtime, it'll likely amp up the music and bear witness to a few nocturnal antics. Needless to say, we left happy, full, and more than a little buzzed.