The best part of my job is that I can meet very interesting, talented people wherever I go. During my several trips to Bogota I was assisted in the kitchen by a curious and attentive chef called Marcela. Before catching a late night flight back to JFK, I took Marcela’s invitation and went to her restaurant, El Ciervo y el Oso, for lunch. The restaurant is run by her and her boyfriend, Camillo, and is in 6th months old operation. The young and old diners flock to this young restaurant to savor simple but delicious and creative dishes. Half of the menu is dedicated to people who love vegetables, and the other half, for protein lovers.
Here are what I had at El Ciervo y el Oso. Please try El Ciervo y el Oso when you are in Bogota.
1. Tabule andino, which consists of quinua, garbanzos fritos, mezcla de hierbas, cebollas y tomates rostizados acompanado de papas rojas y criollas salteadas. Acidity from little tomato, refreshing pickled little onion, crunchy chick peas, grainy quinua, fluffy and sweet papa criollas, chewy paparojas, …all of the flavors and textures are well balanced. This is a healthy starter.
2. Rillette de codillos, which consists of carne de cerdo con mostarda de fresas, ensalada de rugula, vegetables encurtidos y pan tostado. As you can guess from this list, this dish has a strong pork flavor. Because of it, even locals does not order this dish much. I have told Marcela, after hearing that they are planning to remove this dish from the menu, that this is the dish which we absolutely and definitely order when I come back to the restaurant with Buzz. Keep it.
3. Carrot dish, which consists of sue vided, then browned carrot, avocado sauce and pickled mushrooms. The carrot was sue vided for overnight. But it held crunchy texture. Delightful and fun vegetable dish.
4. Costillas de cordero, which consists of al vacio con salsa chermoula, uvas rostizadas y garbanzos en texturas. According to Camillo the lamb was 10 weeks old when slaughtered. Marcela and Camillo get lamb from small, specific farmer who raises good tasting lamb. The tender ribs were smeared with chermoula sauce and cooked. One of the best lamb dishes which I had ever tasted.
Camillo went to London to attend Cordon Blue at the age of 16. After finishing the school he apprenticed at Soho House, Alanducass, and several other places. Today his cuisine at El Ciervo y el Oso does not use much or no butter or cream, but the techniques he has acquired during his training are shining in his dishes.
Marcela has a big dream. Opening an eco restaurant in Palomino Guajira, near Santa Marta, where she briefly grew up and her family owns a land. I look forward to seeing their another creation in the future. Until then, I will go back to El Ciervo y el Oso on my next trip to Bogota.