Following its success in Barcelona, comes a Caribbean inspired bar that is already striking up a rhythm in Madrid. Without setting foot on a plane, El Bombón whisks us away to Cuba, Venezuela, Puerto Rico and Santo Domingo. The only thing we’re missing is the sea (but that was a lot to ask anyway). And how do we get in on this fantastic trip? Simple: with cocktails of passion, a menu straight out of street food stalls of Latin America, and a rumba that’ll sway the stiffest of punters.
El Bombón’s Caribbean flavour can hardly be contained in sumptuous dishes like the Tequeños (cheese sticks in puff pastry with guava or pabellón sauce; 6€). Tequeños are one of the most memorable table items outside of Venezuela, and with good reason. The guava is sweet while the pabellón is strong and distinctive. Give both a try and see which way you sway.
The Tostones con carne mechada (stewed meat over fried plantain; 6’5€) are another which speciality bowled us over. Between the crunchy plantain and juicy shredded meat, oh, and its sauce… <pause to salivate>. Take them on in one bite to stop them spilling all over you. And we dare you to try stopping at one- we ended up ordering several because they were so good. The Tostones Playeros are similar but throw cheese and salsa into the mix. Though by this point we were too full to rise to the challenge.
The sweet potato fries with guasacaca (A Caribbean barbecue sauce; 5.50€), essential to any Venezuelan menu, and so naturally they feature on the menu at El Bombón. Crispy, and light, and with a sweeter flavour than your humdrum potato chip, and served in hearty wedges. Another must have is the sharp tasting Mango Ceviche (5€), a fruity take on the Peruvian classic, with finely diced onions, chilli and a splash of citrous.
Arepas are a given at any Latin restaurant but we were thrilled to see them just the same. Here they stuff these balls of corn bread with everything in the kitchen. Meat, chicken, frijoles, Italian inspired mozzarella and tomato, or a very local serrano ham and manchego cheese, the choice is yours. Us? We recommend the Reina Pepiada (chicken and avocado). The arepas come in two sizes: 7.50€ and regular for 5.5€. The prices are reasonable (believe us) and as a result there are plenty of arepas.
As for the cocktail menu you’ll find your usual Manhattans (7€), Caipirinhas (7€) and Margaritas (7€) and the like. We decided to wind down gently with the Mojitos (4-6€), and a shot of Fuego en el 23 (Rum, baileys, flamed cointreau and cinnamon; 3€). We like to assume that the burning sensation it left in the back of our throats was just the passion that went into preparing the shot.
Free classes at Bombronx
If that wasn’t enough there is even dancing, live music, and classes. Sunday don’t miss Cuban sound at 17:00, and Thursdays try out the Boogaloo (latin rhythms mixed with afrocuban and soul, with lyrics in Spanish and English). Also check out the free salsa and merengue classes. Find out more on their Facebook page.
The classes are held down in the Bombronx Station, the pet name El Bombón has given to the basement/cave under their restaurant. Side note: did you know that there are hundreds of caves under La Latina and pretty mcuh every building in the neighbourhood has access to one? The Bombronx boasts a stage, sofas, and underground bar. At this point you really are transported to those big city, latin barrios on the other side of the world. The first floor on the other hand looks much more like something out of bygone Cuba. With large, wicker chairs, and kitchy wallpaper covered walls, crowded with portraits.