Tapas and Pintxos Get the Poblacion Treatment at This New Spanish Haunt
The tart and spicy flavor profile is typical of the San Sebastian coast.
2/F 5887 Fermina Street corner Enriquez Street, Poblacion, Makati City
Contact: 7504 2977
Open from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. (Tuesday to Thursday), 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. (Friday to Saturday), 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Sunday)
(SPOT.ph) Down a sleepy street, up a flight of stairs—that’s where you’ll find the Basque-inspired Hola Bombón. Bathed in warm light and splashes of fun geometry and color, there’s something of an oasis feel to the place, which is fitting—the San Sebastian area from which they take their pintxo-loving ways is a coastal one. But in that way, they also manage to carve out a place for themselves in Poblacion that makes it feel as though they were always there.
Tapas, pintxos, and a general predilection for finger food dominate this space, as well as some particularly unique drinks. In the past we’ve tried not to use the word “unique”—there’s not much to the word and it paints no pictures, because there’s no point of real comparison. But one of the cocktails at Hola Bombón truly stands peerless: the Tenerife Sea (P380) is a blue beauty made with clarified milk, tequila, rum, vodka, cointreau, and citrus. Layered? Yes. Hard to down? Not at all, and it goes with anything. However, if you’re looking for something deeper and smokier to stand against something as rich as the Paella Negra (P925), then the Marianito (P390) is your glass. (Hats off to Leroy Thorssen, the mixologist.)
Said paella is something of a revelation, too—Chef Ruben Beltran Castellnou has really outdone himself. The pickled piparra peppers add a kick to the pungent saltiness of the squid ink and cured salmon. It all sounds too simple, but there’s a je ne sais quoi to this rice dish, leaning closer to risotto—it’s a “you had to be there” food if ever there was one.
The counter’s where the party’s at, though; pintxos, are, of course, the star of the show. It’s not quite a smorgasbord, visually, because these are bites, but they’re real whirlwinds of flavor. Piparra peppers with anchovies, some of the best bite-sized chorizo burgers that you’ve ever had, and top-notch cold-cuts await you and your glass of Tenerife. On Poblacion’s slightly quieter nights (a.k.a. weeknights) you can even score an all-you-can-eat deal on these babies!
If exploring your options isn’t quite your style yet, the Charcuterie Board (P1,695) will do just fine—more than fine, actually, because when Hola Bombón says “Iberico,” they mean it. For more chew and slightly more acidity, Miguel’s Sandwich (P225) is the answer; it’s sweet from the apple jam and satisfyingly savory from the beer-braised pork. The Taco de Pescado (P195) and the Chipirones a la Andaluza (P455) are also delicately balanced—one sharp and biting, the other soft and aromatic—and both provide good crunch. The Bisugo (P675) is also something of a crispy wonder, the fish enhanced by jamón oil and made perfect by a truffle pea purée.
Dessert’s another story, and one we’re happy to share. The Churros con Coco (P275) is, on every level, a very good iteration of the classic snack—the coconut is a welcome addition. For something more tart, order the Torrija (P275); the milk-soaked bread, ice cream, and citrus curd work well against cinnamon and a crispy rice puff.
It’s Spanish food like you’ve not quite seen before, in sum; parties, dates, solo diners, or an intimate gathering of friends wouldn’t feel out of place here. The only time that happens is when you step back out, as if the real world had been somewhere else, and you were bar-hopping in San Sebastian.
Photos by Majoy Siason