Japanese-Spanish fusion has always been at the heart of Bam Restaurant. This brand of cuisine, developed by chef Pepe Moncayo, has evolved across four years to express the Spaniard’s love for Japanese flavours. The joint first started out as a sake and tapas bar, but has recently settled on a full-blown omakase concept.
Omakase itself has evolved from its roots, shirking much of its traditional weight. It is now more of an umbrella term, referring to a dining experience that couches on the chef’s choice. What you eat differs from day to day, season to season. At Bam, chef Moncayo marries the flavours and dishes from his Catalonian upbringing with Japanese techniques and ingredients.
There are multiple options for your omakase experience at Bam Restaurant — a four-course, six-course, or eight-course, as well as vegetarian and dessert menus. We had the eight-course menu with the sake pairing.
The menu varies daily, but the overall experience was one thoughtfully executed. Dishes began cold and light, moving steadily to warm and substantial. Every portion complemented the sake served, and there were some Inaba sakes exclusive to Bam that were very exciting to try. Just shirk all your expectations for Japanese food before entering.
There were a number of standouts, with the grouper “gazpachuelo” entrée being the first. Unlike the tomato-based gazpacho, gazpachuelo is a Málagan fisherman’s broth, typically made with fish stock, mayonnaise, garlic, egg yolk and olive oil.
Chef Moncayo puts a lighter spin on the rich soup, using it as a milky sauce to accompany pan-seared New Zealand grouper, tobiko and crunchy bits of sago. Garnished with sea grapes, the texturally intriguing dish checked all the right boxes for umami goodness.
Congee with espardenya proved a treat. Espardenya is Spanish for the intestines of a sea cucumber, which sounds bizarre, but actually looks and tastes a lot like squid. The congee comes topped with egg floss and small discs of salted yolk. An Inaba Junmai Daiginjo Muroka Genshu accompanies the congee, and the fruity, refined sake brings a hint of acidity to each creamy mouthful.
The sweets were particularly memorable. A lemongrass granita with jelly, apple and soursop made for a citrusy, refreshing close to the rich main courses. We will definitely return for Bam’s dessert omakase menu.
Overall, Bam’s new omakase and sake pairing option does open up an interesting avenue for people to enjoy fine sakes with food. Whether you’re a novice or an enthusiast, this novel mode of dining will satisfy if you’re a fan of Spanish fusion cuisine.