ALife, the lifestyle group behind restaurant and lounge concepts such as Lost & Found, Kamp and Prospect Park, adds another restaurant concept to its portfolio. Co-founders Mojeed Martins and Jonathan Reitzell presented Bungalowa new high-end restaurant that promises to shake up downtown. While Bungalow is currently in a soft opening phase and taking bookings on a first-come, first-served basis, we were lucky enough to get a glimpse of the future hotspot, which will be fully open to the public at the end of of year.
Bungalow is on the bustling corner of Main and Travis Street in the former home of the Live Sports Bar & Grill (407 Main Street). ALife acquired the property just over a year ago, and the lifestyle group quickly transformed the space from its former sports bar glory into something entirely fresh and new.
“Bungalow Downtown exceeded expectations for a soft opening and the restaurant looks forward to continuing to deliver an elevated dining experience with our grand opening before 2023,” said owners Martins and Reitzel. Houstonia. “We look forward to the restaurant giving downtown Houston another highlight and another reason why Houston is a great travel and dining destination.”
While ALife had a real knack for sports bars and lounge concepts, that theme didn’t fit Bungalow’s artwork. The new restaurant aims for a more luxurious experience. Bungalow has all the usual ALife frills: a unique sensory experience with a list of vibrant libations and tasty dishes. However, the experience here is much less casual, so be sure to dress appropriately. To get a sense of the upscale atmosphere, upon arrival you are greeted with a glass of champagne at the hostess stand – which, it should be noted, is how we believe all dining experiences should begin.
By definition, a bungalow is a small cottage, and the restaurant lives up to its name. The entire space is divided into four smaller, more intimate areas: the main dining room, an upstairs lounge, a private dining space, and a rooftop patio with stunning downtown views. The interior is warm, partly due to the greenery that adorns the ceilings and walls of the restaurant. Bungalow cabins are upholstered in plush green velor and gold accents abound. There’s a speakeasy-style bar on the second floor hidden behind a bookshelf, and a movie marquee sits above the bar in the private dining room. Also excluding retro opulence, craft cocktails like BOF, the Bungalow version of an old fashioned, a grapefruit gin and tonic and an espresso martini.
The chef who runs the hotel group, Aaron Kalenda, uses the same caliber of ingredients you’ll find at other ALife properties. Yet here, the menu is a bit more chef-driven. At the Bungalow, Kalenda has curated a handful of dishes that speak to her Latin roots. When the restaurant soft-opened, entrees included everything from seafood to steaks – think whole branzino, rockfish in crab bacon butter, Tomahawk rib eye and filet mignon (topped, well sure, decadent options like foie gras and Cajun butter).
Apart from the main courses, the starters and sides are to be admired: lamb chops with blackberries, wagyu meatballs, truffle fries garnished with crab meat and the inevitable corn crème brûlée, which gives the impression that a vegetable is the greatest dessert. Speaking of which, the desserts here are an assortment of creative treats – baked Alaska is flaming table-side, bread pudding reminiscent of a Shipley’s donut, and the key to their favorite chocolate dome. fans, breaks its sweet caramelized shell.
For more information on Bungalow, visit bungalowdining.com.