A fair amount of sweet-talking went into the making of Bolero, the newest resto bar in BGC with palates arrayed towards modern Iberian and European fine dining cuisine, yet with the kind of atmosphere and prices of casual dining fare.
Felipe Diaz De Miranda, one of the founders and co-owners of what he admits is their intentionally cheekily named establishment, has been living in Manila since 2016. But it wasn’t until last year when he got invited as a plus-one to a wedding in his native Spain that Bolero, as a concept and business, started gelling together.
The groom at the said wedding was Chef Fernando Alcala, a famous lawyer-turned-chef. In 2022, Alcala was already a feted heavyweight of the Spanish culinary scene, having been named Chef Revelacion 2019 at Madrid Fusion (his cheesecake was voted the best in Spain) and his luxurious Kava restaurant
“We didn't know each other but I was invited. All I knew was he was going to his honeymoon in the Philippines,” Diaz De Miranda told PhilSTAR L!fe. “So we started talking Philippines and right away we have love at first sight!”
He continued, “We connected super good and the whole time, people were like: ‘Who the hell is that guy? Why is he with the groom the whole time?’ Because no one, I mean, no one knew me. But at that point, I said, all the things have aligned!”
At the end of the night, Alcala and Diaz De Miranda were intoxicated with dreams and wine, hatching plans to expand into Manila and maybe elsewhere in Asia.
By the time Alcala and his new bride had come to the Philippines for their honeymoon, Diaz De Miranda had teamed up with his friend, Luis De Isasa Munoz, another Spanish expat in Manila to convince the renowned chef to open what now stands at Verve Tower 2 along BGC High Street South, or what the three boleros call "your culinary affair."
Sure, three Spanish guys opening a resto that brings fine dining taste to a more affordable price point and inserting words like “casual” and “European” under the flag of a double entendre term, could just be all tongue-in-cheek fugazi. But the food at our tasting session was proof that their saccharine claims to temptation surpassed any of theirmarketing hyperbole.
“Bolero wants to bring Spanish fine dining that is recognized worldwide to a casual concept,” exclaimed Diaz De Miranda. “It’s a casual concept that means it's accessible for everyone, yet this is still the kind of fine dining that rich Filipinos go to Spain for.”
For a light snack to whet your appetite, the Ginger Basil Mocktail (P350) is
The Ricotta Cheese and Green Onion Waffle (P540) is a standout that references eating Mediterranea
“The philosophy often centers around the celebration of rich flavors, traditional cooking methods, and a melting pot of different cultures,” said Chef Fernando. “Also, high creativity, and a focus on high-quality ingredients that capture the essence of Spanish culinary traditions.”
Towards that end, their Signature Potato Fries (
“What Fernando talks about are the rich flavors andtraditional ways of cooking but through a melting pot of different cultures,” added Diaz De Miranda. “He takes techniques or products from all over the world and rethink the classic ways of cooking in Spain.”
Another starter we tasted was the Pork Dumplings in Moorish Tomato Dressing (P680). This dish requires a pretty open mind as neither the rich sauce pairing or the firm texture of the dumpling resembles or echoes anything that I've tasted around SEA or South Asian cuisine. The sauce does hit you like a truck with a peppery and sour at the front, much like a vinegar and soy mix except this one’s made mainly with tomatoes. Then there's a hint of sweet and bitter finish a la something from south of Spain. If you are a fan of our local siomai or its varieties like xiao long bao, you may be left wondering there this flavor profile idea came from.
One of the things they don’t slouch on is the meat department, and their 250g Iberian Porkchop (P
They showcased their unique Josper Grill, apparently a legend in the world of Spanish charcoal gastronomy, that lets them get this chop as tender as possible. What this means is that all that yummy fat and carbs feel like they're just melting in your mouth, uber soft and excellent that you don't even need a knife to cut. Served with some liver sauce on the side to add creaminess and dimension, plunge your fork in and enjoy.
Always leave room for dessert as you’ll definitely need space for the generously sliced Award-Winning Spain Cheesecake (P490). This is the very same cake that is served at Chef Fernando’s Kava restaurant in Marbella, Spain that won him a Best Cheesecake in Spain title in 2019.
The Michelin Guide gushes over it, calling it “a cheesecake that is out of this world.” And boy, going beyond Earth might just be the only sane reaction to a veritably simple cake that makes you reassess what the heck you've been eating all those years that's supposedly labelled “cheesecake,” while ch
Having delicious food is really one of life's simple joys, and it’s easy to capitulate to a chef’s sweet talk when you’re served the best.
Bolero turns from resto into a bar after dinner hours and a DJ sometimes spins for the dance floor. There are lounging sofas in their al fresco areas as well as diner style booths inside.
At a max capacity of around 120 people, Bolero also offers a closed-off area for private parties located beyond the open concept kitchen that’s aptly called The Backstage.
Bolero is open seven days a week, from 12:00 p.m. until 2:00 a.m. Check out their Instagram page for their menu and other dishes.