When you think of Poblacion, what come to mind are images of nighttime carousing in what has become Makati’s liveliest district, where the young and feeling-young converge in the many bars, cafés, lounges, and restaurants that have infiltrated this once sleepy network of narrow streets off busy Makati Avenue.
Poblacion is at its busiest from early evening to the wee hours of the morning, every day of the week, but especially as the weekend approaches. But come morning, the district regains a bit of its old neighborhood residential vibe. The crowds are gone, the streets are relatively empty, and most miraculously, streetside parking is readily available. So for those who shy away from the crowds, thankfully, there’s still reason to visit, especially when a place like Hola Bombón, one of Poblacion’s newer restaurants, entices with its all-you-can-eat Sunday brunch.
You may also like:
- The night Rene Redzepi paid homage to the ‘silog’ and cooked other Pinoy recipes at Noma
- The restaurant that turned Chef Josh Boutwood into a culinary star is back
- There’s a new Argentinian steakhouse in town—but it’s Vietnamese by birth
- Chef Chele Gonzalez will host Perth’s farm-and-forager king for a special dinner
- Cacio e pepe and hand-rolled pizza are the real stars of this Italian joint shaking up Rockwell
Hola Bombón is an honest-to-goodness Spanish restaurant but in the loosest sense of the term, with the menu offering a more playful, even daring take on traditional dishes from Spain. This playfulness fits right in with Poblacion’s youthful spirit, as its menu is filled with tapas, pintxos, and cocktails that the nighttime crowd gravitate towards. However, it seems that Hola Bombón also wants to prove that it can be just as inviting during the daytime, thanks to its recently launched Sunday brunch menu concocted by its owners and Spanish chef Ruben Beltran Castellnou.
Along the corner of Fermina and Enriquez Streets, Hola Bombón greets diners in vibrant reds and yellows, with an Art Deco-inspired look and wide windows to let in the natural light—perfect for a midday meal. With available seating for 88, there’s ample room to bring the family and find parking nearby, whether streetside or in pay parking nearby, and that’s exactly what we did one Sunday afternoon in early December.
Just like the pintxos bars of San Sebastian and Bilbao, as soon as we entered, we noticed the bar counter filled with trays of tapas and pintxos for the taking—all part of the all-inclusive brunch. After helping ourselves to shot glasses of Gazpacho de Sandia or watermelon gazpacho, we took our pick of pintxos on toast offered that day: Salmon y Cangrejo (salmon gravlax and crab salad), Boquerones y Tomate (tomato and white anchovy), and Embutidos y Queso (salsichón and morcilla sausages, Murcia al Vino cheese).
But the chef also likes to play with Filipino ingredients and flavors, like with the Mollete or confit pork belly on mollete bread, given extra punch with sisig-flavored cream cheese, as well as traditional Tortilla de Patatas with a dose of shrimp okoy.
After we got our fill of pintxos and tapas, the servers started distributing hot plates of Croquetas de Jamón, Bravas Hola Bombón (fried potatoes with brava sauce and aioli), and mini-pans of Paella de Chistorra y Costilla (bomba rice with Spanish sausages and mustard aioli).
While the drink of choice, of course, was Hola Bombón’s own sangrias, whether Blanco or Roja, we also ventured to try something a bit stronger, the signature “traydor” cocktail called Tenerife Sea. In true Instagram-ready form, it is served inside an aquarium-like bowl complete with multi-colored fake coral. Made with a concoction of tequila, rum, vodka, Cointreau, the drink was tempered with clarified milk to deceptively lessen the alcohol kick.
After multiple servings of the savory dishes, we made sure to leave a little room for dessert, in this case, Churros, deep fried and coated with sugar, served with thick, hot chocolate for dipping, offered as part of the brunch menu. But if that wasn’t enough, from the regular menu, we also ordered the Torrija, a traditional Spanish bread pudding-like dessert, made modern with calamansi curd to cut the richness and a thin rice puff to add a bit of crunch, served with cinnamon and yogurt ice cream.
Sunday brunch at Hola Bombón certainly isn’t your typical American-style brunch that tends to resemble breakfast more than lunch. Instead, it brings a bit of Poblacion’s party spirit to the daytime meal, with cocktails, tapas, and pintxos—to be enjoyed in the sunshine and with lots of parking to boot. Brunch is available every Sunday from 12 noon to 2:30 pm, priced at P1,295 per person.
2/F 5887 Fermina Street corner Enriquez Street, Poblacion, Makati City, (02) 7504-2977, (0917) 520-1880, www.holabombon.com