Azul Selva is the latest project from Veronica Perez – a self-confessed conscious eater and café pioneer hoping to diversify brunch. Naturally, as a fellow brunch-lover, I was more than eager to sample the new arrival!
From the outside, Azul Selva certainly looks like it belongs in Poblado: the balcony sits open along the side of the street, providing a clear view into a packed café and a mixture of clientele, while the décor is a chic blend of whites and greens, dashes of plants and jungle prints. The design is clearly an echo of the name of Azul Selva; literally translating to ‘Jungle Blue’ in English (in Spanish the adjective normally comes after the noun).
Veronica began by telling me that the name took some time to finalize. Due to the café’s concept as a place focused on natural ingredients and eating, she wanted something that reflected vast natural, abundant spaces – so what better than the sea, and thus the ‘blue’ element of the name. Veronica also told me that brunch is a meal she associates with the beach, a type of colorful ‘vacation treat’ that she could transform into an everyday meal in Medellín’s tropical climate.
Everything on the menu at Azul Selva is natural; ingredients are brought in on a daily basis and the café does its best not to keep things in the refrigerator overnight. The idea is that what arrives in the morning, is consumed by the evening. Not only does this mean that the majority of food items are organic and purchased locally (fruits and vegetables all come from Medellín markets), it also means that Azul Selva significantly reduces its waste production, utilizing a cycle of ‘only buy what you use’.
Having only opened its doors to the public in January 2019, Azul Selva was a response to Veronica’s realization that every person has a different way of eating, notably after she went to a nutritionist and began to learn how to eat appropriately for herself. She explained how people tend to have a fear of eating healthy because they associate it only with boring or bland foods, or how being on a diet tends to be more anxiety-inducing than beneficial for people. In response then, Azul Selva is a way of bringing wholesome, flavorful and accessible dishes to customers. More specifically, the café is a way to provide brunch enthusiasts with options other than pastries and heavy carbohydrate foods – something Colombia is often guilty of.
Initially collaborating with a chef from the Peruvian restaurant, La Causa, Azul Selva’s menu has only slightly evolved from its original state, as a result of the consistent high praise the café has received. Currently, the pumpkin pancakes, avocado toast, and the acai bowl are among the best dishes to try. The pancakes, in particular, are incredible; served with yogurt, granola, almonds or peanut butter and honey, the blend of sweet and savory works perfectly, while the crunchy textures of the toppings complement the fluffiness of the pancakes.
For brunchers who prefer the classic Colombian avocado, Toastada de Aguacate al estilo Azul Selva is not to be missed; the sourdough bread covered with peanut butter, avocado and mixed nuts, plus tomato and balsamic reduction is incredibly fresh and a rich twist on a normally simple snack. Dishes like these showcase how brunch can be a diverse meal, and how guests at Azul Selva are guaranteed to be eating healthily, whatever they choose. Additionally, brunchers have the option to personalize many of the options by adding different types of cheese (goats, mozzarella and mature cheddar), salmon, eggs or more.
Undoubtedly, Azul Selva is part of the changing face of Medellín catering to dietary requirements. While Colombian food is somewhat notorious for being fried and problematic for people with any kind of allergy or intolerance, Azul Selva has choices for vegetarians and vegans, along with gluten-free and lactose-free food and drink. Surprisingly, the vegan banana and cacao pancakes are ordered by many non-vegan eaters – a testament to the café’s ability to consciously use ingredients and still construct delicious and distinctive meals.
Menu & Prices
Perhaps the most striking difference between Azul Selva and other Poblado brunch spots is that the café sincerely wants to deliver on its promise of healthy eating. Veronica recounted how she’d lowered prices on the menu so more people could attempt a healthier lifestyle. Prices range from $14.500 COP up to $24.500 COP, and the menu offers a wide selection of cooked dishes alongside juices, artisanal breads and great coffee. It’s also worth mentioning that guests staying in Celestino Boutique Hotel can purchase a breakfast-included package for $25.000 COP, consisting of a separate set food and drink menu.
Why then, did Azul Selva decide on the hotel’s entrance floor as its spot to begin the conscious brunch mission? Veronica, like many other travelers, expressed how it feels extra difficult to eat well when exploring new countries and cultures; even with plenty of research in advance, people can’t always anticipate the cuisine and hidden ingredients they may get. However, being based in a hotel means that the guests are guaranteed balanced food only a few steps away. With that being said, Azul Selva sees its fair share of foreigners and Paisas alike, from both people walking in from the street and hotel guests. With a small capacity for 30 people, the result is a mix of clientele and a unique contrast between people new to Medellín, and those who have grown up here. As Veronica put it, Azul Selva is a place for everyone, to share experiences and opinions, but most importantly, to share great food.
Address: Carrera 37 #8A-60
Phone: (4) 2667230
Monday to Friday 7.30 am – 6 pm
Saturday 8 am – 6 pm
Sunday 8 am – 2 pm