The Aylesbury is no more. Its new incarnation is Bomba. Owners Jesse Gerner and Andrew Fisk envision the venue as a “Spanish worker’s club” which translates to a bounty of tapas on offer. Sitting at the bar with a friend is my preferred way to dine in this style – ie. eating a little, drinking perhaps a little more than that. However, as we move towards Summer, the rooftop is growing ever more tempting as the place to start working through their citrus-laden list of cocktails spiked with cheeky op-culture references.
Interestingly, the crew at Bomba want to introduce the madrileño style of drinking “vermut” – a.k.a “vermouth” if you didn’t guess – to Melbourne. No longer is the fortified, aromatised wine simply something with which to cut the gin in your martini (though Bomba’s martinis are still very good, especially with a side of lemony olives with a trio of stuffings). There are even rumours of offering vermouth on tap.
When you visit, do promise me you’ll try Fisk’s wessex saddleback pickled pork belly – it’s quietly stunning and tastes nothing like it reads on the menu. Try it alongside a soft French style apertif like a Lillet Rose. Bomba also fixes a mean paella. I’d share the braised duck and pork version (the shards of crispy duck skin hiding among the rice are a bonus) over a cosy bottle of Spanish red.
Find Bomba at 103 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne.