Coral Gables: Bulla Gastrobar, A Modern Twist on Spanish Tapas

Quintessa Winery
Cellar 1954: Quintessa Winery
September 24, 2013
Midtown: Blackbrick Opens
December 19, 2013

Coral Gables: Bulla Gastrobar, A Modern Twist on Spanish Tapas

Like the Spanish Gastrobars that fueled its inspiration, the bar at Bulla Gastrobar is the focal point of the restaurant. The leather bound stools and pure white marble beckon you to sit, relax, and transport yourself away from the hustle and bustle of the busy avenue just outside the doors.

The massive rectangular bar is lined with exotic liquors, Anise, bitters and a selection of fresh oranges, limes and herbs. Many of these ingredients will make their way into one or more of the cocktails on the menu. The bar is crowned by yet more bottles of rums, gin and black, cloth wrapped Jamon de Bellota "5J" tied neatly with gold rope, the unquestioned standard-bearer of Spanish gastronomy.

The cocktail (Cocteles) menu is diverse and offers up a selection of beers, wine, sangrias and signature cocktails. Beers range from $4 - $7 with large format, Estrella Inedit and Duvel are $22 respectively.

I opted to try the "Proper Gin & Tonic" ($13) made with Bombay Sapphire, lemon peel, lime wheel, star anise and fever tree tonic water. The balance of lime, hint of anise and the juniper from the Bombay Sapphire gives this cocktail a crisp and refreshing taste, tailored made for those warm Miami summers.

As I was led to my table, we walked past the open air kitchen where guests can sit and get an up close look at all the action. Executive Chef Luis Quant was at the helm and I looked forward to the tapas tasting that was to come. The Menu is broken into four main sections: Cured Meats (Embutidos), Cheeses (Quesos), Small Plates (Tapas Y Raciones), and Large Plates (Platos Familiares).

I opted for a selection of meat and cheeses to start. My platter consisted of the Jamon Serrano ($7) and the Lenora, a soft goats milk cheese from Leon with a medium to strong flavor ($8). I will save the Jamon de Dellota “5J” ($28) for my next visit.

The generous portion is enough for two people to share. The Serrano Ham was rich, thinly sliced and melts in your mouth with just the right amount of fat and saltiness. The Lenora was deliciously creamy with a soft silky finish. This cheese has a nutty flavor, but is not too strong or overpowering and is great for those that want a balanced, creamy cheese.

Next up was the Ensalada de Pulpo ($17) with heirloom tomatoes, grilled octopus, and cucumbers. Again the portion was generous and could easily be shared between two people, but I was glad to have this all to myself. The octopus was perfectly cooked, tender with just the right amount of seasoning so as not to overpower the taste. The citrus from the tomatoes created a nice contrast to the dish and the toasted croutons provided a nice crunch.

At the insistence of the Chef I tried the house specialty the Huevos Bulla ($10). This dish translates to “Noisy Eggs” and is comprised of an organic egg served over homemade potato chips, Serrano ham, potato foam and truffle oil. This dish is rich with truffle oil and full of flavor. Break your diet (and the egg yolk) mix all together and enjoy. This is Spanish comfort food at it’s best.

For dessert I opted to try four of the five selection on the menu (all $8 each). Torrija: caramelized brioche, greek yogurt ice cream, local honey |Cremoso de Chocolate: Chocolate brownie, toasted bread, olive oil, maldon salt. Churros con Chocolate: traditional fried dough, chocolate sauce, dulce de leche. 

Bulla Gastrobar is a welcomed addition to the Gables dining scene. The service is excellent, drinks well made and the food perfectly aligned to the overall concept. Take some friends, order wildly and enjoy, there is not a bad option on the menu.