Friday, 4 September 2015

Bomba Goes to Spain

Gastrology recently had the pleasure of travelling to Andalusia, Spain with the wonderful team at Bomba, a Spanish restaurant in the CBD.  It was incredible! We met with local producers and sampled their wares, ate in some of the best restaurants around, drank a lot of wine and sherry in the name of “research” and basically had one of the best gastronomic adventures of our lives.

Okay, not quite… but Bomba’s Executive Chef Jesse Gerner and a few – extremely lucky – members of his team did, and on Sunday they invited us to their hip Spanish restaurant so they could tell us all about it over an epic Andalusian four course feast. Which made up for not being invited on the trip… almost.
The dishes we ate were inspired by the many fisherman, farmers and chefs the Bomba team met on their journey through Seville, Cadiz, Jerez and the Canary Islands in Andalusia, and were matched with varying types of sherry, a drop the region is famous for.
It began with palate cleansing Wapengo oysters with a bright green, almost sour, nettle vinaigrette matched with a Manzanilla sherry, which we learnt is a natural match for oysters; it’s light and fresh but still has a subtle sweetness so it stands up to bigger flavours. A stunning way to begin the meal.
Smoked and cured pork belly – Chicharrones especial - came out soon after, and we all devoured the salty sweet, gourmet style ham – a recipe that has been adopted from Cadiz’s Casa Manteca, which when translated means: House of Fat. Worth it.

These European research trips are something the restaurant undertakes approximately twice a year; it keeps the team inspired, educates them on the provenance of the food they are serving and keeps its menu authentic and unique. The team always returns from their gourmet rendezvous’ with new recipe ideas and techniques that they are eager to implement in the Bomba kitchen.
From the bread – a sour dough which is cultured from grapes which results in a light tang – to the Sardinas fritas with lemon - crunchy, salty, whole sardines lightly fried and served with a lemon mayonnaise - which transported you straight to the European seaside – the tapas were unique, carefully prepared and utterly enjoyable.  
The next meal to hit the table was inspired by a pair of deaf and mute brothers who run a top notch Spanish bar is Seville. Their signature dish is a sweet and unctuous dish of cuttlefish and pippies swimming in a glistening squid ink that we mopped up with the remainder of the house made bread. The original dish is actually made with cuttlefish vaginas – yes #cuttlefishvaginas – but ours continued to be beautiful whilst remaining free of reproductive parts. It was all black teeth grins around the table, but we washed it away with sherry and were all in excellent spirits – and feeling quite joyful as well!
A scrambled eggs style dish came next, Montadito of huevos revueltos with morcilla – a rich scrambled eggs with blood sausage, herbs and spices on a giant crunchy crouton. Can all our eggs be served with such bold flavours? And then came the rich Caldillo de perro; roast fish broth with poached lobster and black garlic to prepare us for mains. 
Rabo de toro, took things to new levels. Whole pieces of “Fighting Bull’s Tail” had been slow cooked in oloroso to absolute perfection. The meat was so soft and tender, it fell off the bone with a touch of the fork. It was served on celeriac puree, with braised winter greens with lemon and anchovy and matched to a sherry with caramel, almost maple like tones. So decadent. Almost dessert-like in its gelatinous form. 
But dessert was still to come – Pedro Ximenez ice cream, torrija, sheep’s milk yoghurt and poached pear. Adapted from a traditional recipe from Fernando & Castilla in Jerez de la Fontera, torrija is a slice of bread that is soaked in milk or wine with honey and spices, dipped in egg and fried. It was perfect to soak up the sherry spiked ice cream, and served with a glass of PX, it was the perfect way to finish the lunch.

First stop Bomba, then express to Spain. You won’t be disappointed.

Location: 103 Lonsdale St Melbourne
Phone: 03 9077 0451
Cuisine: Spanish, Tapas

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Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Bomba.
First image by Gastrology. All other images courtesy of Jessica Williams.

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