A romantic voyage along the Silk Road as imagined through the travels of a bon vivant and connoisseur, Bambola, 1402 W. Randolph St., is a 175-seat restaurant and cocktail bar from Bonhomme Hospitality that tells the story of trade, travel and culture. The restaurant opens on Tuesday, September 13, with reservations live today through Resy.
Culture, travel and style are at the heart of everything Bonhomme does, creating singular nomadic experiences for their guests — Porto takes diners to the Atlantic Coast of Spain and Portugal; Bordel is a speakeasy inspired by Paris' Belle Epoque and Pigalle neighborhood; Mama Delia is a pilgrimage across favorite regions of Spain; and where Beatnik restaurants are driven by a sense of escapism to destinations in the Middle East, Morocco, Mexico and Peru, Bambola is a journey for the senses, an expedition to the East that weaves through a diverse cultural tapestry stretching from Italy to Xi’an. Designed by Maison Bonhomme, one city, Istanbul — as a historic gateway between East and West, Asia and Europe — was a constant touchstone in the creation of Bambola due to its peerless mix of influences and cultures, textiles and objects, highly decorative details, and a culture of hospitality.
Led by Chef de Cuisine Alisha Elenz and Bonhomme Group’s Michelin-starred Executive Chef Marcos Campos, Executive Pastry Chef Shannah Primiano and Culinary Director Erwin Mallet, Bambola is inspired by the rich traditions, ancestral techniques, exciting products and flavorsome spices widely exchanged and mastered by Eastern and Western cultures since the 13th century.
Together, Bambola's chefs travel along the Silk Road to seek out the culinary through lines in the shared multicultural heritage of Asia and Europe. As the journey goes from East to West and West to East, Turkish, Persian and Indian cuisines play a central role in Bambola’s menu as these three countries dominate the center of the Silk Road. Adding complexity and showmanship to the dishes are the oft-celebrated, internationally recognized cuisines of Italy, China, Malaysia, Thailand and Greece.
Deliciously paired with Chef Marcos and Alisha’s savory menus are desserts by Chef Shannah, who finds inspiration in ‘sweetmeats’, an affectionate term to describe the sweet confectionery bites found across the trade routes that ignite the team’s imagination at Bambola. Chef Shannah’s sweetmeats highlight the lineages of fruits, nuts, teas, grains and traded goods that reflect the cultural exchange of knowledge and tradition along these routes that connected the civilizations of the East and West.
Bambola’s cocktail program, “The Silk Road”, celebrates the free flow of culinary traditions and ideas through modern cocktails, built on ancient flavor combinations. Created by Bonhomme Hospitality’s award-winning beverage team and partner Brian Sturgulewski, local drinking traditions and beverages found along the Silk Road inform both spirit-free and spirit-friendly cocktails. Much like the blending of cultures along the trade routes, global spirits and complimentary spices and ingredients are used to express those traditions and beverages in a way that is unique to Bambola.
Bambola’s wine list, “Message In A Bottle”, transports guests to some of the most exciting regions of the planet through the lens of favorite iconoclastic & natural winemakers of the moment. Created by Michelin’s Sommelier Of The Year, Colin Hofer, the goal is to tell these winemakers’ stories while guiding guests to explore regions and styles that fall outside of “typical wine” parameters by calling attention to expressions like ancestral orange wines aged in Qvreri, Clarets, and Pet Nats. Regionally, Bambola highlights the expansion from the Mediterranean eastward stopping along the Greek Islands, Lebanon, Georgia, Croatia, Cyprus, and beyond. Bambola also features winemakers who dare to be bold and create wines using a balance of ancestral and modern techniques. Award winning winemakers like Luis Seabra (Portugal) and Rodrigo Mendez (Spain) are featured side by side with the newest generation of natural winemakers like Saša Radikon (Slovenia), Sergio Drago (Sicily) and others who are boldly reviving indigenous grape varietals and reclaiming their regions through sustainable, biodynamic/organic agriculture and minimal intervention winemaking practices.
To bring Bambola’s colorful, collaged vision to life, Maison Bonhomme collaborated closely with an incredible design team starring Luca Lanzetta Group, Popham Design, Molteni&Co, Viabizzuno, Sogni Di Cristallo, Viccarbe and Antoniolupi. The space is filled with Italy’s finest textiles, furniture by some of the most exciting designers of the 20th and 21st centuries, and Popham Design’s dramatic handmade cement tiles juxtaposed with museum-quality 18th and 19th century antiquities and rare furnishings collected from China, Thailand, Burma, Pakistan and India in collaboration with Doug Van Tress and Chauwarin Tuntisak of The Golden Triangle. Bambola is warmly illuminated with one-of-a-kind chandeliers from the masters of hand-blown glass in Milan and Venice to elevate the standard for restaurant lighting.
Some of the most dazzling design elements of their extravagantly appointed interiors include handmade cement and zellige tiles by Popham Design; a monumental Coppibartali Light by Viabizzuno; a 40’ dining table by Foster + Partners; hand blown glass chandeliers & lamps by Sogni Di Cristallo; dining chairs and cocktail tables by Rodolfo Dordoni; sofas by Yabu Pushelberg; dining tables and chairs by Patricia Urquiola; handmade “Beni” rugs by Soufiane Zarib; and bathroom vanities and taps by Antoniolupi. This imaginative and diverse array of artistic elements — a testament to the Eastern and Western crossroads of civilizations that have traveled all these past centuries — are meticulously woven together to make Bambola a truly unique restaurant in today’s dining scene.
Bambola is located at 1402 West Randolph St., Chicago, IL 60607. Hours are Tuesday to Friday 4pm to 2am, Saturday 4pm to 3am, and Sunday 4pm to 12am, with Brunch coming soon. Reservations are available through Resy or by calling 312.526.3883.
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