Mediterranean cuisine with a wow factor
A multi-concept destination centered on high-quality food and second-to-none beverages quietly opened its doors inside AUNN creative hub on Jiaozhou Road.
This exciting project was unveiled by Armada Group, a new food and beverage group with founders keen on pushing the boundaries of the guest experience with eclectic cuisine, multifaceted hospitality and unique surroundings.
The space has a wow factor as soon as you walk in. A relaxed outdoor space seamlessly leads to the indoor area. After passing through Loggia, a casual cafe/lounge on the first floor, you arrive at Bonica, a Mediterranean grill and bar that shares the building with four other concepts.
The interior of Bonica is sleek and relaxed, using materials in its natural conditions. Walnut wood, rustic terrazzo and copper metallic details are mixed together to create the right balance for a fine-dining experience in a casual, unpretentious environment, according to designer Daniel Uribe from Ortiz Leon Architects.
Tropical plants, and even an olive tree, are the main features inside the space. Have a glass of Spanish wine beneath the olive tree, and imagine yourself dining on stone streets beside the Mediterranean Sea.
Bonica pays homage to the 19th-century European traders who brought spices, porcelain and ideas from the East, with inspiration from the founders' mix of backgrounds and culinary influences that span time, culture and continents.
The kitchen is led by Mexican Executive Chef Marco Chavez, who has spent the past eight years working at Mr & Mrs Bund, The Chop Chop Club and Polux.
At Bonica, he has created a menu with vibrant Mediterranean cuisine focused on grill-fired dishes from both the land and sea, with bold spices, bright flavors, fresh seasonal ingredients and a rustic presentation. Starting off with a pre-dinner house cocktail is recommended. Mark Lloyd (J. Boroski) is the drink consultant. I loved the refreshing Templari Tonic to escape the summer heat and get me ready for the evening.
Most of the dishes I picked were seafood, starting with sardines and pil pil sauce, and then moving on to seafood ceviche and grilled octopus. Before the dishes arrived, I was served their house bread accompanied by delicious Spanish Acanto Botanikal olive oil, along with Agua de Benassal natural mineral water.The wine list is impressive with 230 different varieties, mostly Spanish.
The wines are carefully selected to match the grilled dishes. It's lovely to see lesser-known but still high-quality wines offered by the glass. For those not familiar with Spanish wines, the house sommelier can make recommendations based on what you're eating and your preferences.
Opening hours: 5:30pm-10:30pm (Tuesday closed)
Address: Bldg 5, No. 60, Lane 273 Jiaozhou Rd
Average price: 600 yuan (US$92.56)