Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Bulla Gastrobar

There's a lot of bulla going Coral Gables and by bulla I mean quite a stir. Remember Por Fin, the Spanish restaurant located at 2500 Ponce de Leon? Carlos Centurion, its owner, decided he wanted to revamp the place; taking the ambiance and cuisine to a different level. Bulla Gastrobar was born, and with it came a tasty selection of tapas, charcuteries, sangrias and a vibe you won't believe.

I visited Bulla on a Friday night and immediately noticed the happening, electric energy around us. Front stage and center was the bar, bustling with people enjoying the incredible happy hour specials and saying goodbye to the office for at least a couple of days. You don't have to wait until Friday though and can pretty much kiss off the work woes everyday of the week because Bulla offers Happy Hour deals from Monday-Sunday.

The first thing I noticed was that gone were the more traditional days of the previous establishment and in was a casual, fun feel reminiscent of the Spanish tavernas in Catalunya.  I could envision an exciting crowd at Bulla, watching a game of Soccer  while cheering on the Barcelona Futbol Club, just like they do at Las Ramblas. Besides the downstairs dining room, there is still a space upstairs that is excellent for group events and gatherings.

Spanish Beer and Sangria
de Cerveza
While we perused their selection of tapas and charcuterie options, I ordered a Sangria. Our waiter, Brian, suggested I try the Sangria de Cerveza, their very own version of the popular spanish drink. Adventurous me said "sure, let's do it." Thanks for the tip Brian; it was lip-smacking good. The beer they used, Ommegang Witte, had a perfect citrus aroma with hints of orange peel that combined well with the triple sec, lemon juice and pear puree. The flavors created a harmonious balance, resulting in a refreshing, sweet drink befitting of its own rendition of the Lays slogan "No one can drink just one". Sipping slowly, I ordered the first small plate, the Bombas, consisting of two large, creamy shrimp and potato croquettes, covered with mildly spicy brava sauce and aioli. They were "da bomb" (no pun intended). If it wasn't because there were a slew of other dishes I wanted to try, I would've ordered another serving. Next up, we had a special of the day, the Pulpo y Empedrat de Judiones, a typical catalan dish made with grilled octopus, gigantic white beans, white balsamic vinegar and olive oil. It was tantalizing for the taste buds and beautifully plated. Although the seasoning wasn't very intense, we enjoyed the variety of textures in each bite.

Pulpo y Empedrat de Judiones

Tartar de Atun
Charcuterie with Jamon de Bellota
and Garrotxa cheese
When I saw Tartar de Atun on the menu, I couldn't help myself. I don't know if I was a large predatory fish in a past life but I seriously can't stay away from tuna. Their tuna tartare was prepared with ahi tuna mixed with soy sesame vinaigrette, and topped with bits of sweet mango. It was fresh, tangy and provided me with my much craved sweet and savory fix. Bulla also has a great selection of Embutidos and Quesos for their charcuterie platters so we knew we had to sample one of those. We ordered the legendary Jamon de Bellota, or "pata negra", Spain's prized acorn-fed pure Iberico ham. It doesn't get much better than this. We paired the delicacy with Garrotxa cheese, a catalonion semi-hard goat's milk with a long sharp finish. Slices of each were delectably laid on the wooden board and I would be perfectly content spending hours indulging in this coveted treat while sipping some more sangria and listening to Miguel Bose. You know that old saying, "Saving the best for last"?  It was personified this evening through our last savory dish of the night: The Huevos "Bulla". We had had the pleasure of tasting these mighty fine eggs in the old establishment under a different name, but for some reason, they were even more unbelievable now. The Huevos "Bulla" is their take on a Spanish favorite usually called Huevos Rotos where eggs are served poached and mixed with a meat, and some kind of potatoes. It's an explosion you want to be around. This version was made with an organic egg, homemade potato chips, Serrano ham, potato foam and truffle oil. Just the memory inspires me to make them at home this weekend and be showered with gratitude by my family. (Like they would). Anyway, this is a must-have dish that is so good, it will make you want huevos in your mouth all the time.

Huevos "Bulla"

Cremoso de Chocolate
Deconstructed Key
Lime Pie
Dessert time arrived and we ordered two: The Cremoso de Chocolate, which was described on the menu as a chocolate brownie but was more like a chocolate cake, served with toasted bread and drizzled with olive oil and Maldon salt. The minute I read the ingredients, I jumped for joy. We also tried a special of the night not usually on the menu that gave new meaning to the term Deconstructed Key Lime Pie.  Of the two, this turned out to be our favorite. Served in a glass, the ingredients were layered and I could taste the distinct flavor of vanilla. If you closed your eyes and swirled your spoon in the glass to capture a bit of everything, it was as if you were eating a traditional key lime pie. I found it totally refreshing and delicious.

I can't wait to return to Bulla Gastrobar and sample some more of their original tapas real soon. For more information, you can contact them at 305-441-0107 or visit their website at

Bulla Gastrobar on Urbanspoon

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