Vanessa Gerner is a well-known face in the Melbourne hospitality scene with her restaurants, Anada and fine dining restaurant, The Aylesbury which has now been transformed into Bomba Tapas Bar and Rooftop. She tells us about her love for Spanish food, the Melbourne food scene and her tips for eating out in the city.
Tell us about Bomba Tapas – what can people expect?
Bomba is our take on a Spanish workers bar/bodega. It is fun, casual and relaxed with an emphasis on vermouth as well as classic Spanish dishes. The style of eating has changed but there is still an emphasis on sourcing great ingredients.
Our most popular dishes are the morcilla with goats curd, broad bean and charcoal grilled bread, the pork jowl in Pedro Jimenez with celeriac puree and the arroz negro seafood and squid ink paella baked in clay.
What first sparked your appreciation of Spanish cuisine and wine?
When we arrived in London and Jesse (my partner) started working at Moro restaurant, I had never tried such amazing food or flavours before and instantly fell in love with it. We then planned a 6 month tour around Spain to try all the different food and wine regions…heaven!
What makes the Melbourne food scene unique?
People in Melbourne really appreciate good food and wine. They are quite loyal to restaurants and cafes if the food and service are good. There are also so many different types of restaurants so people are really educated about the many styles of dining.
What have been your key influences when it comes to Melbourne food and wine?
When we first moved to Melbourne I started working at Movida; this was a fantastic way to get to know the people and culture of Melbourne. Also Joseph Abboud from Rumi helped us to feel a part of the food scene here by giving great advice and taking Jesse on a tour of Sydney Road and all the Middle Eastern suppliers.
Aside from your own restaurants, where are your favourite places to dine in the city?
Yu-u is a favourite place for a night out with friends as I love the tasty Japanese food, the relaxed, simple set up and the feeling of being hidden underground that all help for a good catch up.
For a special occasion I like going to PM24. Great wine list, romantic atmosphere and a rotisserie – what else could you want?
Bomba Tapas Bar and Rooftop is located at 103 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne.