Editor’s Note: This story was written based on the original location. As of October 2014, Ole Ole restaurant has relocated to Carrera 37 #8A-29 on Vía Primavera, Poblado.
I first met Spanish Chef Javier Fajardo at Maridaje, the food festival held at Plaza Mayor this past October. He had a very friendly and outgoing personality, and the salmon tapas to put a smile on my face.
He’s originally from Barcelona, and runs Ole Ole, a Mediterranean-themed gastrobar, along with Chef Jose Manuel Naranjo in Mall Zona Dos.
Mall Zona Dos is rather small compared to other Poblado-based malls, and mostly features restaurants and a Carulla supermarket. It’s not as well-known as other malls in the area like El Tesoro, bit it’s worth a visit, if only to taste Javier’s tapas at Ole Ole.
In early December, we had our second to last reader meet up of the year here.
One of the first things I did upon arrival, after saying “hi” to Javier, was order two pitchers of sangria.
They run 45,000 pesos ($23) each, and are a refreshing break from beer and liquor. Both were fruity, and neither too strong.
When I was in Barcelona last December, I took a cooking tour which included a class in how to make Spanish paella, as well as red and white sangria.
I quickly forgot everything I learned because we ended up drinking all the sangria we practiced mixed ourselves that night.
As more people began to arrive, we started ordering tapas. I began with another piece of salmon for 5,000 pesos ($2.60), like I’d enjoyed at Maridaje.
Then it was on to what Ole Ole bills as the best tuna in the city, the Tataki de Atun Rosado which includes pieces of lightly cooked tuna covered in a coconut and macadamia nut sauce, with tomatoes and greens.
I must agree, this is the best cooked tuna I’ve had in Medellin. The few times I’ve tried it in the past, it’s been overcooked, resulting in a consistency and color similar to tunafish out of a can.
The half portion shown above costs 15,000 pesos ($7.80), and a full serving is available for double the cost.
My friend Brian also had the tuna, in addition to a plate of authentic Serrano ham, served with bread, and a tomato and olive oil sauce.
A half plate goes for 25,000 pesos ($13), and you can double the portion for twice the price. If you’ve ever been to Spain, and especially Catalonia, you know how crazy the Spanish are about ham.
It’s everywhere, and a staple dish at tapas restaurants.
One of our readers who wasn’t familiar with tapas ordered a pasta dish with white truffles (or truffle oil, not such which) for 25,000 pesos ($13).
Rich and creamy, though a little bland unless you add salt.
As the night was winding down, I began looking for a dessert. The menu offers two options, Coulant de Chocolate served with ice cream, or a house pastry. Being a chocolate lover, I chose the former (12,000 pesos, $6.20).
“Coulant” means flowing, and that’s exactly what happens to the melted chocolate inside the cake once you press your spoon through it. If you find the melted chocolate too hot or rich to eat on its own, simply scoop up a little ice cream with each spoonful.
In France they call it “chocolate fondant” and in the United States it’s often referred to as “chocolate volcano cake.”
Whatever you call it, this is one of my all time favorite desserts, and it was executed perfectly at Ole Ole (thanks guys)!
A few of us were still lingering, talking with Javier, as mall security began to come around and encourage everyone to leave. Closing time for the mall appeared to be 11pm, at least on Tuesday evenings.
It wasn’t until I was paying my bill that Javier reminded me about their gin selection. It’s something he brought up at Maridaje a month earlier, but it’d slipped my mind.
Ole Ole features a bar stocked with the best gins in the world, and three types of tonic.
The Spanish have gone gin-crazy in recent years, raising the classic gin and tonic to new levels. During my visit to Costa Brava in Catalonia last year, I had my first gin and tonic garnished with juniper berries.
When I arrived in Medellin five years ago, it was rare for me to see gin at the bars. Nowadays, I see blue bottles of Bombay Sapphire (my favorite), as well as Tanqueray at more and more restaurants.
But there’s more to the world of gin than these two popular brands, and the next time I go back to Ole Ole, it’ll be for a gin and tonic tasting along with my tapas.