While Texans are known to be lovers of Mexican food, there are a variety of dishes from other Hispanic countries just waiting to be discovered. Legacy West’s newest addition, Bulla Gastrobar, offers a variety of Spain-inspired dishes, drinks, and tapas.
Last weekend, I had the chance to preview Bulla’s dinner menu ahead of the restaurant’s opening this coming Tuesday.
To kick things off, my guest and I ordered a plate of embutidos (cured meats) and cheeses. We were allowed to pick one type of meat and one type of cheese. For the meat, we chose the finocchio, which is a handcrafted Italian salami. For the cheese, we chose the mahón, which is a firm cow’s milk with lemony, salty, tangy flavor. The plate came garnished with nuts and candied pecans in the center. It also included three crispy crackers with drops of cajeta dolloped onto them. The sweet and savory portions of the plate paired very well together and set the bar high for the upcoming dishes.
After my guest and I finished off the plate, we received our drinks. Although it is customary to receive drinks before appetizers, the restaurant was packed, and therefore orders had been getting mixed up throughout the night. This was understandable, considering the restaurant is still gearing up for opening and working the kinks out.
We were each allowed two drinks from the cocktail menu, the first of mine being the Bullfighter. The Bullfighter consists of Bulleit bourbon, Aperol, Dow’s Port, lemon juice and cranberry. It had a taste similar to that of a good fruit juice, like acai berry. The alcohol taste was just slightly noticeable, which allowed for me to take in the delightful combination of fruit flavors.
For the second drink, I ordered the Moscow Mule. Bulla’s Moscow Mule consists of Russian Standard Vodka, Fever Tree ginger beer, fresh lime, cardamom, currant infused syrup and candied ginger. While most bars’ Moscow Mules are rather gritty and bitter, Bulla’s was a delightful exception. The currant syrup gave the drink a sweet, fruity flavor, allowing it to taste similar to Sprite mixed with a candy-like infusion.
As for the post-drink effect, I felt that the impact was just right. I didn’t feel drunk, but I did feel relaxed enough to just unwind and enjoy a stress-free night.
For the next plate, we ordered the Montaditos de Castillo, which were an arrangement of four slices of toasted bread topped with braised short ribs, tomato marmalade, guindilla, and tetilla cheese. Although this sounds like a lot to take in, I highly recommend just taking a big bite and consuming every aspect of the piece all at once. The combination of the ingredients makes for a hearty, flavorful appetizer with a sweet and spicy kick.
When it came time to order the main entree, my guest and I ordered the paella, however, there was a bit of a mixup in the kitchen, which resulted in our order being pushed back an extra 20 minutes. To make up for this, one of the servers offered us the albondigas.
The albondigas were an arrangement of three veal and pork meatballs immersed in a tomate frito sauce and topped with manchego cheese. The meatballs were thick, warm, meaty and cut very easily. Eating the albondigas was like eating miniscule meatloafs and they were enough to tide us over until the paella arrived.
Bulla’s paella is a soupy, creamy rice dish, with calamari, prawns, clams, red sofrito, shrimp and saffron arranged to make a beautiful display. It tasted just as amazing as it looked. The consistency of the rice was just right, the insides of the clams pulled out easily, and the shrimp were cooked to a pink perfection.
We ended the night with the flan de coco, which is a coconut flan served with a side of passion fruit sorbet. The sorbet was unlike anything else I had ever tasted; sweet, icy, and packed with fruit flavor. The flan itself was also a unique dish, given its utilization of coconut.
From beginning to end, I was highly satisfied with the food and drinks served to us. Despite a few minor kinks in terms of customer service, I appreciated the fact that the staff acknowledged the mistakes, made it up to us by offering us extra food, and by allowing us to fill out feedback cards. With their diligence and customer orientation, everything should be running smoothly by opening day.
Bulla Gastrobar officially opens on February 13 in Legacy West.