Bulla in Coral Gables: Instagram Beckons!
There was a time, not long ago, when boys in khaki swarmed Coral Gables. They sauntered down avenues while gossiping about the latest venture capitalist to move to New York. Ageless women, hair blow-dried and legs strangled by skin-tight white pants, muttered words like "supposebly." There were gold necklaces, Mediterranean lawns, and University of Miami bumper stickers. Coral Gables meant suburbia ten minutes southwest of high-rise-clustered downtown.
billwisserphoto.com Arroz a banda at Bulla Gastrobar in Coral Gables
But now the neighborhood embraces Eating House, Bread & Butter, Swine Southern Table & Bar, and Bulla -- a wave of new restaurants that eschew leather-bound menu books and candlelight. So forget the duck terrine, raspberry coulis, and grand wine lists. This batch teems with the muddled mint aroma of cocktails and change. Old-school refinement no longer defines Miracle Mile. Coral Gables is booze, craft beers, and stylish grub.
Bulla, a Spanish gastrobar on Ponce de Leon Boulevard, best exemplifies the revival. Carlos Centurión was formerly the proprietor of Por Fin, a white-tablecloth restaurant located in this same space. But formalities tired him. After four years, he closed it, and a year later, Bulla (pronounced boo-yah) was born. His new spot, furnished with walnut wood floors, hanging light bulbs, and equine-inspired décor, is younger, cooler, and better than before.
After the transformation, Luis Quant stayed on as executive chef. Popular dishes such as huevos "Por Fin" evolved into huevos "Bulla." Both feature crisp potato chips chaperoned by thick potato foam, jamón serrano, a fried egg, and pungent truffle oil. The egg, now upgraded to organic, is the only change.
billwisserphoto.com Executive chef Luis Quant
At Bulla's freestanding marble bar, under the mahogany marquee, it's always time for a drink. Cocktails here are delicious and fussy, infused with citrus marmalades, lemongrass syrups, and homemade passionfruit tonics. The sangria de cerveza, a drink more coastal Marbella than citified Madrid, mixes Ommegang Witte, a Belgian-style wheat ale, with triple sec, pear purée, and a squirt of lemon juice. Don't be surprised if guests order more than one. This suds-inspired sangria, crisp and refreshing, is just $8.