Satay Restaurant: Asian Food in a Peaceful Garden Setting

Satay Restaurant
Satay Restaurant
Satay Restaurant
Satay Restaurant

Editor’s Note: Satay closed its doors by the end of 2013.

I first noticed Satay Restaurant in Poblado during my brief visit to Medellin last August.

Located a few blocks from Parque Lleras, it opened its doors in 2012, and as of January 2013, was still in the process of refining its menu.

I met up with Nicky from Tumble Design for lunch one afternoon. He was spending a few months in the city, and we had a friend in common.

The garden at Satay
The garden at Satay

Entering the restaurant, there’s a small reception area, with some couches. The interior decor is Asian-inspired, and helps set the mood for the dining experience.

Down a flight of stairs, in the rear, is a dining area set in a peaceful garden. I feel relaxed simply looking at the picture above once again.

We were given paper menus, photocopies, which I found a bit odd. I tried to ask our waiter about them, but my Spanish wasn’t good enough.

An English-speaking Colombian man at the next table came over to help. It turned out he was a co-owner, who began the restaurant as a side business.

His full-time job was as a commercial airline pilot!

He explained that they were rotating dishes on the menu, looking for the ones which were best received by diners, before getting the final menus printed up.

Chicken satay appetizer
Chicken satay appetizer

For starters, I ordered the chicken satay, one of my favorite Asian dishes.

The chicken was fine, and I liked the presentation, but the peanut sauce wasn’t as thick and strong as I like it.

Salmon with blackberry sauce
Salmon with blackberry sauce

Nicky ordered salmon with blackberry sauce, I ended up enjoying more than my dish, both in terms of taste and presentation.

Jerk tuna with citric sauce, spicy noodles, and salad
Jerk tuna with citric sauce, spicy noodles, and salad

I’d opted for jerk tuna with a citric sauce, spicy noodles and salad. I liked the presentation, but failed to realize the potential for the tuna to be overcooked.

I’m so use to eating sushi and nigiri at this point, it pains me to eat tuna when it’s cooked too long, as was the case here.

When that happens, the fish has the consistency of canned tuna. It’s tough instead of tender, and the color is bland instead of rosy pink or deep red.

Satay Restaurant started strong on TripAdvisor, holding a number one or two ranking when I checked last August, but it has since dropped quite a bit.

I still give them credit for opening an Asian restaurant, where the recipes and atmosphere are much closer to what you get in the West, than places like Thaico in Parque Lleras.

Plus, their garden setting offers a chance to escape the noisy streets.

I haven’t been back to Satay since January, but I also haven’t forgotten about what it has to offer. For those looking to take a break from Colombian fare, it’s worth a try.

Editor’s Note: Satay closed its doors by the end of 2013.

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  1. Nice honest review. It’s strange that the owners and the chef didn’t have the confidence to make the menu themselves instead of experimenting with it on every guest that walks into their garden. I do like the look of the ambiance. Was the price reasonable?

    • Well they said they were rotating different dishes to see what was most popular with the diners. It makes sense to me, but it was a little weird they’d been open so long and were still experimenting. I just thought the photocopied menus felt a bit cheap, which was in contrast to the setting and menu.

      It was on the upper end of what I’d pay for a lunch. I’d be more likely to dine there on a dinner date than to go with friends.