HomeLifestyleThe Bungalow Kitchen: Tiburon’s Newest Waterfront Restaurant And Social Dining Experience

The Bungalow Kitchen: Tiburon’s Newest Waterfront Restaurant And Social Dining Experience

Last month award-winning Chef Michael Mina of San Francisco-based MINA Group and hospitality veteran Brent Bolthouse, founder of The Bungalow Hospitality Group, opened The Bungalow Kitchen in the storybook town of Tiburon, California. This new social dining experience and community clubhouse is located right on the San Francisco Bay offering guests unobstructed views of the sparkling water, Angel Island and the city skyline in the distance. With a cozy, eclectic bohemian design by AD100 interior designer, Martin Brudnizki, this restaurant is meant for more than just dining.

“I am thrilled to partner with my longtime friend and hospitality authority, Brent Bolthouse, to bring The Bungalow Kitchen to the Bay Area — breathing new life into the beloved destination of Tiburon,” said Chef Mina. “The Bungalow Kitchen was designed to feel like an expansion of guests’ homes, so the menu is familiar yet elevated, made up of California cuisine that reflects Tiburon’s beautiful waterfront location, fun history and charming sensibility. “

The Bungalow Kitchen is an impressive two-stories, with enough space and seating for nearly 300 people. The expansive space is warm and welcoming, complete with plush, lounge seating; lush greenery; floor-to-ceiling windows and homey accents like book-lined shelves, fireplaces, and more. Upstairs is the salon which is home to another impressive full bar; a pool table; fireplace; ample seating to get cozy; and more stunning views.

“Sometimes reality is better than your dreams. This is our love letter to Tiburon,” said Bolthouse.

Menu highlights include the pristine NorCal Shellfish Tasting complete with pacific oysters, Fort Bragg sea urchin and salmon roe, poached spot prawn Dungeness crab Louie, and Bodega Bay clam cocktail; and the Garden Crudité Bowl, featuring crunchy, garden vegetables served with gazpacho shooters and three dipping sauces-green goddess, lemon-poppy seed and walnut romesco.

On the menu is a selection of MINA favorites including the Ahi Tuna Tartare, mixed table side with chili peppers, mint, garlic, pine nuts and drizzled habanero-sesame oil and the Michael Mina Reserve Caviar Parfait complete with a crispy potato cake topped with smoked salmon, sieved egg, and whipped crème fraîche.

The menu also features signature pastas like the Wild Mushroom Agnolotti topped with a carbonara sabayon and black truffle crumble and standout mains such as the Crispy Broiled Petaluma Chicken for Two served with wilted Swiss chard and torn sourdough topped with ver jus raisins and toasted hazelnuts, finished with lemon-chicken jus; and Lobster Pot Pie, a Chef Mina signature, comprised of a whole Maine lobster, truffle-lobster bisque, and root vegetables.

For dessert, guests can indulge in a Meyer Lemon Crêpe Cake with crème fraîche cream, Sicilian pistachios and local raspberries; and Roasted K&J Orchards Persimmons topped with Tenbrink walnuts, and Straus vanilla bean ice cream.

We chatted with Hospitality Veteran Brent Bolthouse and Chef Michael Mina on their latest endeavor. Here’s what they had to say.

The restaurant is being called a new social dining concept and lively community — what sets it apart from being just a restaurant?

Bolthouse: The Bungalow Kitchen is more than just a restaurant; it was designed to be an extension of the community’s living room, where they come to celebrate life. Our goal was to create a restaurant rooted in culinary and service that has the flexibility to be fun, curious, and exciting. Guests might come for brunch with their family on Sunday then come back to meet friends for a game of pool and a nightcap over the weekend.

This is a culinary adaptation of Brent Bolthouse’s The Bungalow in SoCal, of which he has two locations. Talk about that and how this original concept has been adapted to fit this Tiburon location.

Bolthouse: Guests who have visited either of The Bungalow bar locations in Southern California will immediately recognize the similarity in the residential feeling. At The Bungalow Kitchen, that experience is paired with an exquisite menu by Chef Mina and an expansive wine list. So, while guests can still grab a game of pool while sipping a Bungalow Margarita, now they can do it after enjoying a Caviar Parfait and Lobster Pot Pie. For Tiburon, we took it a step further by enlisting the visionary design work of Martin Brudnizki to match the majestic location.

What is the inspiration behind The Bungalow Kitchen’s design and décor? What can guests expect at the restaurant? Vibes? Music? Ambiance?

Bolthouse: World renowned architect and interior designer Martin Brudnizki, was inspired by Tiburon’s bohemian history and the residential nature of the original Bungalow. He has truly created a masterpiece. The soundscape has also been carefully and intentionally curated; it is meant to be part of the overall experience. The Bungalow Kitchen is a place where you can come in dressed up or in casual attire, but everyone feels comfortable.

Chef Michael Mina: What’s driving the menu? What’s the innovation behind it? And what’s its intention? 

Our menu is heavily inspired by The Bay Area and the greater California region, with several seasonal ingredients found in our dishes. We wanted to create inventive adaptations of classic and craveable dishes that you might have in your own home, as we want guests and locals alike to feel like The Bungalow Kitchen is an extension of their living rooms.

From fresh seafood in our NorCal Shellfish Tasting, to warming pastas and hearty mains like the Wood-Fired Natural Chicken and Roasted Liberty Farms Duck, to some signature MINA Group classics like my Ahi Tuna Tartare and Lobster Pot Pie, the menu presents diners with several options to indulge in while taking in unobstructed views of the Bay, Tiburon Marina, the City, and beyond.

We want guests to visit The Bungalow Kitchen several times a week; not only for a sit-down meal, but also for a nightcap drink, casual dinner with friends, or for brunch on the weekends. Our brunch menu presents breakfast favorites but with a Bungalow Kitchen spin, including the Sweet Potato Pancakes blanketed with king salmon gravlax and the option to add 1oz of my reserve caviar (if you’re feeling luxurious), and the Coconut French Toast sprinkled with pistachio praline and finished with a bright lemon curd and strawberry compote.

Talk about the bar program. What’s special about it?

Chef Michael Mina: The bar program is helmed by MINA Group’s Director of Bars, Mike Lay, and it offers a selection of edgy and refreshing cocktails that can be enjoyed with a meal or individually while lounging at the bar or over a game of pool upstairs. Cocktail highlights include the classic Bungalow Margarita and The Bungalow Old Fashioned, and Bay Area-inspired drinks like the City Lights which is a chamomile-infused vodka cocktail with lemon, elderflower, agave and faba.

For brunch cocktails, we have The Bloody Maria which features my wife Diane’s beloved Diane Mina’s Original Bloody Mary Mix and tequila; and on the lighter side, The Yacht Water with tequila, lime and Topo Chico served in a bottle, pairs nicely with our Brokaw Avocado Toast.

Our wine program at The Bungalow Kitchen is also very robust – with over 150 offerings by-the-bottle and by-the-glass, curated by our Wine Director Jeremy Shanker and Lead Sommelier Jerad Ruhl. It ranges from vibrant Mediterranean whites to some highly sought-after bottles, and also includes an entire page devoted to Marin County wines, as well as a second page with bottles that are paired to Brent’s top 10 favorite music albums which is a fun tribute to several top music legends. 

Why did you choose this location as the home for this new restaurant?

Bolthouse: Our landlord from The Bungalow Huntington Beach happens to be our landlord in Tiburon. He invited Michael and I to look at the space four years ago. After seeing the space and location, we realized it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a beautiful jewel box in the majestic community of Tiburon.

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