Small bites: Bomba refreshes its menu

A CHANGE IS IN THE AIR: Hector Diaz says Bomba's latest menu is a European blend. He wants guests to think of Bomba as a global cuisine pop-up bistro, where every month new items will be shared. Photo by Thomas Calder

Since it opened in 2012, Bomba has gone through several renditions. What began as a bar and lounge quickly shifted to coffee and pastries, later adding a lunch menu and outdoor seating before more recently introducing a dinner menu. “Bomba is a challenge,” says Hector Diaz, its owner and chef. (Diaz also owns and operates Salsa’s and Modesto, and previously owned the now-closed Chorizo, which is currently searching for a new location.)

Bomba is not, however, a burden. As Diaz discusses the restaurant’s latest phase — which includes a European-inspired dinner menu, as well as new breakfast and lunch options that focus on French and Spanish cuisine — there is a sense that these changes excite Diaz more than anything else. “I’m going back almost to the beginning of Bomba, when we decided to make tapas,” he says. “We are kind of turning the clock back to the past.”

Diaz looks over the dinner menu, his finger running down the list. He says he travels the world collecting the best recipes: “When you care, your food will show it. The taste will show it, the look will show it. That is the goal.”

He pauses to discuss the wild mushrooms in vegetable broth. “You can taste a forest,” he says of the soup, before continuing on to mention the mussels and lobster bisque, which, he notes, combines elements of both Spanish and French influence.

Because of his approach and outlook, Diaz says the menu will continue to morph. “Some people like the change, some people hate the change, some people are OK with it. But guess what — it’s always going to change, no matter what.”

You get a sense that Diaz is discussing more than food, even as his attention turns to the breakfast and lunch items. French toast, empanadas and breakfast tacos are among the all-day breakfast plates served. A steak au poivre entrée, the madame croquette sandwich (turkey, bacon, tomato, gruyere and mustard) and the señorita burrito (new potatoes, beans, feta cheese, avocado, pico de gallo and greens) are a part of the lunch options.

Diaz says Asheville’s growing culinary scene inspires him to continue to explore new options. It isn’t a competition so much as a welcome challenge of self-improvement. An open mind and a creative approach to the every day seem to be Diaz’s guiding principles.

That doesn’t mean, however, that an old favorite can’t be revisited. “For those that would like to have things one way, we are open to do it for them that way,” he says. “You may not see it on the menu, but it’s there. If you are a regular, we are an open kitchen.”

Bomba is at 1 S.W. Pack Square. It is open 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday and 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. For more information visit

Book signing and cooking demonstration with Katie Button

On Saturday, Dec. 17, Cúrate chef and owner Katie Button will offer cooking demonstrations at Le Creuset. The demonstration will focus on espinacas a la Catalana — a sautéed spinach dish with raisins, pine nuts and apple. Free samples will be available for guests. Copies of Button’s book, Cúrate: Authenic Spanish Food from an American Kitchen, will be for sale at the event. Button will be available to sign copies once the demonstration is complete.

The event runs 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, at Le Creuset, in the Asheville Outlets mall on Brevard Road. The event is free and open to the public. For details, visit

Sofra Sunday at Rezaz

Rezaz will host its final event in the Sofra Sunday dinner series on Sunday, Dec. 18. The family-style gatherings have each focused on the cuisine of a different region of the Mediterranean, including Turkey, Greece and Portugal, with an Italian feast rounding out the series with the next event. The five-course meal will feature insalada Italiano, a green salad with green olives, tangerines and creamy red wine dressing; minestrone with house-made capunti pasta; and braised South Carolina rabbit cacciatore with house pappardelle pasta and grilled veal osso bucco. “We are billing this as a family-styled chef tasting with the idea that all the mains are served to be shared along with a lot of small plates to be passed around,” says Brian Smith, owner and chef.

Safra Sunday at Rezaz begins at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18, at 28 Hendersonville Road. Tickets are $47, not including drinks, tax or gratuity. To reserve tickets, visit

Philippe Bourgeois Wine Tasting

Metro Wines will offer free wine samples on Tuesday, Dec. 20. The event, led by local importer Philippe Bourgeois, will include four wines from France and Spain, including Bellula Blanquette de Limoux Spakling Brut and Chateau Grand Francais, Bordeaux Superior 2010. Bourgeois focuses on the two regions with a particular interest in handcrafted, sustainably farmed or certified organic wines.

The free wine tasting runs 5-6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 20, at Metro Wines, 169 Charlotte St. For more information, visit

Olive or Twist closes

After eight years, Olive or Twist will close on Jan. 2. The location, at 81 Broadway in Asheville, will be converted into a retail space. In addition to its food, the restaurant is known for attracting blues and swing bands. Live music will continue until its closing (except on Mondays and Christmas Day). A closing night dance will feature Russ Wilson. In a press release, owner Bill Devlin says he hopes to reopen in another location.


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About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. His writing has appeared in Gulf Coast, the Miracle Monocle, Juked and elsewhere. His debut novel, The Wind Under the Door, is now available.

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2 thoughts on “Small bites: Bomba refreshes its menu

  1. headnugg

    Bomba had the BEST cuban, by far, in Asheville and then one day changed it and ruined it.

    Why fix it if it’s not broken?

  2. boatrocker

    Because the next hipster who moves here from Charlotte or Brooklyn will pay $2 more for it just to post a pic of the sammich on social media.
    And call it ehhhhhhpic.

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