El Bodegon brothers branch out with a tapas bar
Argentinian brothers Diego and Javier Ferro are well known in Shanghai for providing comfort, value and an amicable service at their El Bodegon steakhouse. But the pair recently revealed their versatility and branched out to set up a new concept: a neighborhood bar for people to chill out with friends over a selection of tapas, wines and cocktails in a no-frills environment.
It seems to be a contradiction when you consider many restaurateurs are following a trend of establishing more fancier, polished-looking venues suitable for photo taking.
“We always wanted to open a bar without a show-off attitude,” said Javier. “It is a place where people will want to come back often.”
The black-and-white photographs on the walls of La Bodeguita Del Sur may reveal the roots of the South American brothers, but the tapas menu is inspired by the influence of Mediterranean culture rather than their home country.
Everything is straightforward without unnecessary garnish, just as it is at El Bodegon on Changle Road, which is just a two-minute walk from the bar.
Wines and tapas are on rotation, inspired by the Ferro brothers’ travels and the influence of Mediterranean culture on Argentina. For drinks, vermouth features prominently on the menu, while there are several wines by glass from 48 yuan. I enjoyed how the place embraced a simple philosophy to provide a relaxed but well-executed meal like the good old days, because nowadays so many venues integrate Instagram-friendly ideas by looking good but ignore the basics.
The tapas selection is classic and sticks to authentic flavors and textures. I tried a little bit everything, as the small dishes are meant for sharing, from the olives, potato salad, jamon iberico to octopus carpaccio.
Grilled provolone and empanadas are must-orders and dishes that represent authentic Argentinean tastes. The origin of provolone was born from the need to unify Argentine-Italian eating habits and the idea of introducing a typically Italian product such as provolone cheese, in the roast, is typical of Argentina. The grilled cheese is a wonderful bite to go along with a glass of red wine.
A staple of Argentinean cuisine, empanadas are delicate dough-wrapped pastries that contain fillings ranging from meats to sweets. Here, they offer different fillings as well and the golden-crusted empanadas stuffed with flavor, which are satisfying warming bites for the colder months ahead.
Opening hours: 5pm-midnight
Address: 897 Julu Rd
Average price: 150 yuan