At The Bar with Bomba Tapas Bar Chef and Founder Jesse Gerner

Adelaide-trained chef Jesse Gerner has been plating up tasty Spanish food at his city restaurant Bomba Tapas Bar and Rooftop for 10 years.  The Melbourne restaurant is celebrating the double-digit milestone this month with a bottomless rooftop lunch and even saw Gerner retrieve recipes from his first menu of service to rewind with some nostalgia dishes too.

Jesse Gerner talks to The Write Drop for our At the Bar Series. He talks his favourite spots to drink and dine in Melbourne, plus hanging out with Snow Patrol in NYC.


After initially really missing east coast beaches when I moved to Melbourne 16 years ago, I really fell for Melbourne’s great nightlife with its awesome bars like Black Pearl. The terrific late-night places to eat like Supper Inn and Ling Nam got me in as well as the great live music; we loved Night Cat on Sundays. We also loved the street art in places like Hosier Lane as well as gallery openings, the theatre and shows. I started racing on yachts in St Kilda about 15 years ago and since then my love of Melbourne was complete.
These days our lives have changed a fair bit as my wife Vanessa and I have three boys who are 13, 11 and 9 who are all going to great schools near us in Northcote. We love going out still but must fit it in when we can.

Cibi is my favourite cafe in Melbourne. I love the Japanese breakfast and all the fantastic things you can buy there.

One Noodle Friendship in Preston is my hidden gem for the dry beef noodle curry.

Caretaker’s Cottage for cocktails and Northcote theatre for Gigs.

Cafe Distasio for a dinner with the boys and Brae is a fantastic weekend away.


Sea urchin on toast with smoked lardo at Marea in New York is up there. When I was at River Cafe in London, some of the staff meals there were next level – there was always a menu every service we worked.


Milk and Honey in New York was epic 12 years ago. There were about nine seats, the drinks were incredible and we ended up hanging with a couple of the guys from the band Snow Patrol who we’re playing a uke and singing, until the wee hours in the morning.

A beautiful beach shack in Formentera Spain drinking gin and tonics watching the sun set with waves lapping our feet – also up there!


A Negroni. Slightly bitter but delicious and quite strong.


Cibi Japanese breakfast for sure.


The Exeter Hotel in Adelaide – my mentor and first boss owns it and it’s also a great pub.


We import El Jelipins wine from Armada Imports –  it’s incredible to drink. We met the wine maker who is the most amazing woman and is laser-focused on her methods.


Sam Plunkett – I love his Heathcote Shiraz and the wines he produces in Seymour under wine x Sam.


I had a few months off the booze and some of the non-alcoholic beers are getting quite tasty. I like Heaps Normal.



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