My 2 AM Spirit flight from Managua, Nicaragua to Medellin (via Ft. Lauderdale) went off without a hitch, and I arrived at my apartment with little more than an hour and a half to spare.
It was Friday, February 14 and while most Colombians don’t recognize Valentine’s Day, I was excited to see Viviana again after being away for two months.
When we arrived, our table was there waiting for us with rose petals dotting the white tablecloth. We were soon offered a welcome cocktail with sparkling wine, and a bite-size serving of warm mousse of sweet corn.
Surprises from the kitchen, no matter how small, are always a delight.
As we began to peruse the menu, I noticed a foreign man at one of the more private outdoor tables proposing to his Colombian girlfriend.
I brought Viviana’s attention to the moment, and we both watched as she said “yes” with excitement. Needless to say, she spent the rest of their dinner smiling, admiring her new engagement ring and calling family and friends to share the good news.
Turning back to the menu, it was filled with appealing dishes. This was going to be difficult.
I opted for the Tuna Tataki on mango and sweet chili tartar with black sesame dressing as an appetizer we could share (25,000 pesos, $12.50).
Other options that had me salivating included a Stuffed Salmon Roll with tomatoes and basil over couscous with avocado in dill cream scented with lime (19,000 pesos, $9.50) and Foie Gras Mousse over crispy brioche bread, accompanied by smoked duck breast and grape and blueberry compote (35,000 pesos, $17.50). Have mercy.
The Tuna Tataki was cooked properly, with the outer edges seared, and the center left a rosy pink. I liked the playful use of fresh flowers, both on this first dish, as well as the ones to follow.
Next, it was on to the main courses. The menu featured a nice selection of soups, salads, seafood, steaks, pastas and risotto.
Viviana and I were on the same wavelength this night, as we both honed in on the pastas. I ordered the Ravioli in dehydrated forest mushroom dough, stuffed with lamb in its own juices, and flavored with black truffle oil (40,000 pesos, $20).
When it arrived, and there were only five large ravioli, I briefly questioned whether it was enough to fill me up. But it didn’t turn out to be a problem, as each element (the lamb filling, the dough, and the cream sauce) was incredibly rich. In fact, I could barely finish my plate.
Viviana had opted for the Ravioli in Iberian chorizo and bacon dough stuffed with manchego cheese and braised tenderloin with Scarparo sauce (41,000 pesos, $20.50).
As always, she offered me a taste, and I accepted.
And as is often the case, I liked her dish a tad more than the one I’d chosen. (If given the choice, I will almost always choose a dish with truffles or truffle oil).
If you know anything about me by now, it’s that I always leave room for dessert, and Valentine’s Day dinner would be no exception.
The dessert menu was extensive, with 10 offerings ranging in price from 12,000 to 15,000 pesos ($6 to $7.50).
Options included a tasting of three types of Crème Brulée, a Lemon Praline, Ricotta Tart with strawberry and orange confit, Ice Cream Alfajor with dulce de leche, and much more.
We shared the Semisphere of Chocolate Mousse with berries, and a shot of red fruit in Cosecha Tardía (wine) topped with mint foam. The chocolate was decadent, and there was plenty of it to share between the two of us.
Approaching “food coma” status, I paid the bill, and as we were leaving, we saw Chef Diego Aveiro standing in the lobby. I took the opportunity to introduce myself, and thank him for the outstanding dinner.
I don’t know how Brulée can afford to keep their prices so low given the quality and sophistication of what’s coming out of their kitchen, but that’s not for me to figure out.
I simply intend to enjoy more meals there going forward.