There’s a new Latin American restaurant in town and is really, really close to my house. So close I got to visit it on the day they opened to the public.
The colourful logo and decor, the live music, and all that jazz are definitely not my style but they do create the right atmosphere.
I did like the balcony windows painted with flags. My flag is not up there, but they told me it’s coming.
The menu features food from Venezuela, Colombia, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, and Perú. Needless to say, choosing was tough. Before our picks arrived, we were served complimentary arepas: reina pepiada with pulled chicken, avocado and mayo, and the carne mechada with pulled beef. The arepas themselves (i.e. the buns) are smaller and thin than the traditional ones, resulting in a tastier end product thanks to a higher filling:bun ratio.
We ordered a ceviche (raw fish marinated in lime juice) which was surprisingly awesome. Later we found out the reason: the cook who makes it is not only Peruvian but chalaco (from the port of Callao). Some Peruvians would complain about the lack of sweet potato in the dish, I was fine with that. Bonus points for serving it in a martini glass, making it easier to sip the leche de tigre (marinating juice).
Our next shared entrée was the ensalada de gallina, a Venezuelan version of a Russian salad with potatoes, carrots, chicken, green apple and mayo. I had tried it before made by our Venezuelan friend Vicky and am happy to report that this one was just as tasty.
Ensalada de gallina ($10)
Our first shared main was seco de cabrito (which should be really seco de cordero), a Peruvian slow-cooked lamb stew with coriander-based sauce. The menu announced it was served with rice and crunchy potato fries, but instead of fries we got cassava. These were coated in some sort of flour and the staff couldn’t tell me if it was wheat flour so, as much as I love cassava, I refrained from eating my portion. The stew didn’t pack the flavour punch we’re used to. Both my sister and I cook it regularly and prefer ours.
Seco de cabrito ($18)
Our last dish for the night was sobrebarriga bogotana, a Colombian slow-cooked beef in a rich tomato-based sauce. The menu announced rice and deep-fried plantain, however we got rice and boiled potatoes. We did mention it to the waitress, who got us a serve of fried plantain with cheese on the side (I had never eaten it with cheese before!). The stew was a pleasant home-style comfort dish. Great fried plantains. We’ll be back to try some more dishes.
Sobrebarriga bogotana ($16)