El Cielo – Medellín, Colombia

It started a few years ago. Travel to a different country or city, try and find one of the best and unique dining experiences and eat there. Simple! One of the first big ones was Central, in Lima. A restaurant built on Peruvian food from every part of the country. Last year it took us to A’barra in Madrid and we’re hoping to keep the tradition up with each trip. This time it was the turn of El Cielo in Medellin, Colombia.

One of 3/4 restaurants run by Juan Manuel Barrientos , El Cielo’s tasting menu philosophy is one that you tend to find more and more. Key food and ingredients are all from that country and really showcase what that country has to offer in food. El Cielo has 3 different tasting options. We went for the experience that offered the most and takes you on a journey through Colombia.

A number of starter snacks cross our table that included corn and potatoes cooked different ways, like corn in a breaded ball that you ate in one bite. As you bit in the liquid corn oozed out in your mouth. One of the early highlights was the “Chocolate Therapy”. Warm liquid chocolate was poured over your hands to wash them, then dried coffee and sugar was added to exfoliate. Then you ate it off! It was suppose to evoke those childhood memories of licking chocolate from the spoon. (Childhood? I definitely did this last year!)

Appetisers and mains continued to appear over the course of 3 hours and covered every aspect of Colombian food. Dishes such as salmon served in Amazonian fruit broth, pork rib and Colombian sour cream, and chickpea soup, all tasted amazing and looked almost too good to eat.

Colombia produces tons of coffee and chocolate each year so these obviously features heavily in the dessert courses, as well as a biscuit containing honey from the endangered Colombian angel bee. The coffee serving topped off an already incredible experience. After the coffee was filtered through a chemex the chef wanted you to feel like it was the first coffee of an early morning, so a huge pillow of mist was added to the table which quickly enveloped you as you drank the delicious Colombian blend.

Coming in at about €140 for 2 people, each with a glass of wine, this was an awesome experience and one that anyone who goes to Medellín, or other cities El Cielo is, should definitely try.

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