If you feel like sipping a sherry or snacking on some tortilla there’s a new tapas bar in town. The Aylesbury has been reinvented as the more casual Bomba. It’s cheaper and there’s vermouth on tap – what’s not to love?
Bomba opened last week and I was invited along to the launch. We started with the one thing that hasn’t changed – those stunning city views from the roof top bar. I highly recommend spending a whole lazy afternoon or evening having drinks up here. As I may have done a few times.
Downstairs there have been a few tweaks to the decor with raised bar style seating and copper edging on the bar. But the main changes are in the menu. There are plenty of traditional tapas to share like classic tortilla with paprika alioli on toast ($4.50). The tortilla was the right amount of soft with a slight smokey flavour.
I can never go past croquetas at a tapas restaurant and Bomba’s version where spot on with a crisp exterior and creamy filling of chicken, manchego and smoked paprika ($3.50 each). For something less stodgy the pickled Spring Bay mussels with Iberico migas ($3 each) were light and refreshing.
From the more substantial part of the menu our waitress recommended the Pedro Ximenex braised pork jowl with celeriac ($16.50) which she tipped as Bomba’s signature dish. It was a fatty delight but my favourite was the wagyu rump ($24) which was buttery soft and served with a slick of mojo verde.
Bomba also offers a few different paellas. We tried the arroz negro with prawns, pippies, calamari and mussels ($36) which was a brilliant inky black colour. This was a wet paella so didn’t have the traditional crusty base but still packed a flavour punch. The salads at Bomba are also excellent – my favourite was the freekah and cauliflower salad which could make a great light lunch by itself with its adornment of pine nuts, pomegranate, mint and sumac ($7).
Since it was the launch party we took advantage of trying every dessert on the list. By popular vote the best was the smooth, creamy parfait topped with shattered turron ($10). It was actually the churros ($8) which disappointed as they were undercooked and chewy. But this was a rare falter for the night. It’s hard to complain when a fun venue reinvents itself as a cheaper and more casual place while still delivering tasty food and drinks.
Gourmet Chick was a guest of Bomba.
Details: Bomba, 103 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne (Ph +61 3 9077 0451) Open: Mon-Sun 3pm-Late.
Damage: Reasonable but on this occasion I did not pay.