In Vino, Communitas

In Vino, Communitas


For the curious, Bombvinos Bodega opens its doors to a world of libations, hearty meals, and music

This is an excerpt from MEGA’s July 2024 Dining

When you think of natural wine—wine made with as little human intervention as possible, in a nutshell—you can now think of Metro Manila. Natural wine’s buzzy status as an exciting complement to equally exciting food movements across the globe has been ringing for quite some time now. Today, the Philippines can take a sip or two, if not have a seat on the table, thanks to key players like Bombvinos, co-founded by Paolo Monasterio and Joey Osmeña. After their respective stints in San Francisco and New York, both of them found their way back home with a shared love of good “natty” (AKA natural wine).

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So what started as a natural wine importer of if-you- know-you-know natural wine labels such as Konpira Maru and Milan Nestarec, Bombvinos has become a fixture in the neighborhood list of places to wine and dine by way of their physical space—the aptly named Bombvinos Bodega.

Bombvinos Bodega features a library of natural wine selections
Bombvinos Bodega features a library of natural wine selections

“A bodega in Spain is a cave à vin to France—a place to store wine. [Bombvinos Bodega] is sort of to pay tribute to those definitions” Osmeña shares. “But for me, a bodega is a certain thing in New York, sort of like a sari-sari store.”

Bodegas in New York are sort of like community centers,” he adds. “In the daytime that’s where people hang out. There’s a lot of different meanings in the bodega, and that’s very intentional. We want the [Bombvinos Bodega] to mean whatever it can to different people, but as long as it means that as long as you can gather, and hang out, and be with your friends.”

After taking in the adjacent unit to house a commercial kitchen and expanding their team to the double digits, the Bombvinos Bodega, located in The Zone along Malugay St., Makati, has played host to many a party, date, or drinking sesh ever since its opening in July last year.

Recently, the co-founders have been bolstering the “dine” aspect of the wine and dine experience. Together with Chef Don Baldosano of Linamnam fame, their food offerings follow the tenets of “Pinoy Bistronomy.” This is a catch-all term coined by Chef Don to describe Filipino food at its heart and using modern techniques and inspirations to further showcase the possibilities of Filipino food. 

From lunchtime until four in the afternoon, they have bolstered their menu to include lunch offerings that still follow the principles built from their dinner menu in a more approachable way.

“When we talked with Chef Don, he liked to lean heavily on his French background but in Filipino flavors” Monasterio shares.

In recent times, Bombvinos Bodega also introduced a new and hearthy list of lunch specials in their menu
In recent times, Bombvinos Bodega also introduced a new and hearthy list of lunch specials in their menu

The Tocino Gratin (Php 450) is a delightfully hearty play on a brunchtime staple. Meanwhile, the Jamon Croque Madame (Php 495) made from homemade jamon can make you come back the next day to cure your hangover from a night of libations at the bodega. The Beef Fat Sinangag (Php 390) features a more than moderate amount of fried rice judiciously studded with leeks and helpings of tallow. It is good to be eaten as is, but best paired with their take on Pritong Manok (Php 570)—adorned with ikura and flanked by a dash of sumac and a calamansi slice—to make it a meal for two. It’s worth noting that the Tocino Gratin, Jamon Croque Madame, and Beef Fat Sinangag feature keso de bola as an ingredient (rendered as a mornay for the first two dishes and in generous shavings in the sinangag) resulting in a slightly different texture and a mildly salty aftertaste. This careful balance of flavors, leading towards innovation but also comfort, makes Bombvinos Bodega a full-bodied dining concept.

“Filipinos always say ‘Kumain ka na ba (Have you eaten)?’ and that’s our way of saying ‘How are you?’” Monasterio says. “Food always seems to be the center of driving a community.”

Discover more about Bombvino Bodega’s take on culture, community, and dining in MEGA’s July 2024 issue, now available on ReadlyMagzter, Press Reader and Zinio.

Photographed by KIERAN PUNAY of KLIQ.INC. Written by LEX CELERA. Sittings Editor MARA GO and STEF JUAN.

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