If Niko Romito has his way, he will revolutionise street food in Italy by turning the ‘humble doughnut’ or bomba as it is known in Italy into a protagonist of Italian street food.
The chef of 3 Michelin star restaurant Reale in Castel di Sangro has opened a new ‘fast food’ concept in Milan together with Autogrill on 7 June. Called “Bomba” this is the first in a series of outlets that are set to open not just in Italy but also internationally.
The ‘bomba’ is a doughnut that is being served in both a savoury and a sweet format at Bomba. Niko Romito has gone back to his father’s roots. It was his father who made the ‘bomba’ at the pastry shop in Reale at Rivisondoli which made typical pastries from Abruzzo. His father turned that pastry shop and bakery into a trattoria before it was taken over by Niko and his sister who turned it into the best restaurant in Italy.
In 2014, Niko launched the first ‘Bomba’ in Naples in a high-end supermarket. Here, they made not just the doughnuts with cream but also ones filled with bufalo mozzarella and other savoury ones. The project came to an end but the concept had been spotted by Autogrill which acquired the brand.
Together with Niko, they now intend to scale the concept not just in other Italian cities but also outside Italy. Niko Romito uses his high end restaurant to test concepts that can scale. Earlier this year he launched Spazio Roma which followed on the success of Spazio Milano and which gives his students the possibility to learn to cook in a restaurant environment during their training period.
The dough for the doughnuts is made in a laboratory in Northern Italy and it is then sent to Bomba (for now in Milan but the idea is to open more branches) and these are finalised on the spot. Niko has worked on the dough so that it has no animal fat. There is just olive oil and cacao butter and these are fried in seed oil. This results in a unique dough that is used for the sweet and savoury fillings.
The savoury fillings include one with ragu, one with endives, pine nuts and raisons, one with chicken and one with pork. Given the heat in Milan, Bomba will also serve doughnuts filled with ice cream that is supplied by Emilio of Maratea which is considered to be one of the best ice-cream makers in Milan.
The space is in Piazza 25 Aprile in Milan which is one of the zones that has been transformed in recent years. Niko is present in the opening days to ensure quality. Doughnuts have the tendency to be mediocre and covered with poor quality sugar. But Niko Romito is taking the doughnut to the next level having worked to perfect the dough and using top quality ingredients to fill them. His aim is to make this one of the protagonists of Italian street food.
We’ve tried the sweet ‘bomba’ at Reale and we can vouch for it. If you are in Milan, then make a detour.