After you’ve had your fair share of Colombian food, you may be craving a simpler taste in contemporary surroundings. We were blown away by the quality at Ciengramos at Click Clack Hotel, which prides itself on contemporary cuisine using local ingredients. The twist being that each and every dish weighs precisely one hundred grams and is inspired by an artist. Sound odd? Hear me out.
Both food and art evoke the senses. They can tell a story, they can make you nostalgic, they can make you think, daydream and feel. The founders of Ciengramos wanted to do something different. There’s already a saturated market of excellent, authentic Colombian food in Bogota (obvs) but where does one go when they’re looking for something a little different. Well, if different comes in the form of a modern, luxury hotel with interior gardens, a beautiful well-stocked bar and elaborate local art, then Ciengramos at the Click Clack hotel is where you need to be.
The Ciengramos kitchen prides itself on not following rules or being constrained to traditional parameters. Instead, the focus is upon producing beautiful dishes using balanced flavours, artisanal ingredients and a myriad of textures, tastes and colours. Each dish is named after a different artist and is said to take inspiration from the style of each artist.
We kicked off with excellent homemade bread – a gorgeous soft loaf of brioche served whole to be ripped into at the table, with a dip of fresh tomato in vinegar. The warm bread marrying with the sweet and sharp combo of vinegar, oil and tomato is such a winner.
We perused the menu – there are pages and pages and lots of choice – we opted to share a few starters, kicking off with the Hesse. Hesse’s namesake consists of hot aubergine fritters, cooked well and served in a huge 100gram portion. They were crunchy, flavourful and tasty with sweet aioli sauce.
Arguably the best starter was the Kandinsky: Gorgeous octopus ceviche with subtle flavours of onion and dill, sharpness from lime, fresh fragrant coriander all concealed over addictively crunchy tortillas. The octopus was kept chunky with a good amount of bite – and was clearly very fresh.
Tigers milk marinade and dehydrated coconut elevated the flavours further, whilst “maiz cancha”, the local crispy corn nuts, added crunch. It was so good!
Tuna tartare, when done well, is one of my favourite starters. The Cragg was our final starter. It was truly perfect tuna tartare, combined with a tomato “pico de gallo” salsa. The tartare was served ice-cream style in savoury tortilla cones. The crispy shell cones were layered, starting with a bed of smooth citrusy guacamole and hints of jalapeño underneath heavenly tuna tartare. We loved the freshness of this dish and again the starter portion was very generous; just perfect for sharing. Ciengramos sure know how to nail starters!
We had mentioned we were going to Ciengramos to friends we had made during our first few days travelling, Cole and Holly, and they decided to book in too for the same time. The four of us were typical of the restaurants main clientele: millennials, looking for a meal with atmosphere and great flavours. It’s impeccably decorated inside, with Colombian artwork, quirky details and indoor vertical gardens. Instantly I could see myself there with a big group of friends for a birthday or weekend brunch (especially as they have live music too!)
The interiors include tall, lush, vertical gardens, exposed brickwork, a chic, monochrome tile floor, quirky art and a pop-up cocktail menu. It is the kind of place that will totally hog your Instagram feed if you let it.
For mains, Holly went for the least traditional burger on the menu, The Recco. This was a big hit with the table, stuffed with calamari, alioli, soft sun-blushed tomatoes, peppery rocket salad and local cabra cheese. Best of all, it was encased with warm bread, where the dough is enriched with goats cheese. It was another winner!
Cole opted for the Merz beef burger. It was rich in flavour with textures of pate. Whilst she said she’d have preferred it cooked a little less so it was still a bit pink, she loved the variations textures and the flavour.
I was craving lamb as it’s a meat that we came by very little in Colombia. The Braque was incredible. Braque’s art may not be loved by all but his dish at Ciengramos certainly would be. It was a wonderfully fragrant lamb burger; it was soft and well flavoured with melt in the mouth onions, mustard, fresh greens, and a hint of cinnamon. The artisanal burger bun was made with local cabra cheese, which tasted great with the garlicky aioli. The mustard added warmth and quickly my taste buds were in overdrive. It was truly a triumph of a burger. The consensus about all of the burgers were that they were fantastic but a little small at 100grams. They are so good that you do want a little more!
Our final main was the Man Ray, perfectly pink beef, grilled fast and then married up with roasted tomato, parmesan, fresh rocket and warm spinach. It was really well cooked, with gorgeous flavour from the cheese. The soft roasted tomato was sweet and juicy and the finishing of really good extra virgin olive oil finished the dish nicely.
This was the perfect match for the Argentinean, Private Collection 2013 Malbec Cabernet and Merlot blend wine, which was delicious in its own right.
We were excited to try the desserts – this is where I felt Ciengramos would come alive with their creativity and the inspiration from the artists would come into play, as of course it’s no easy feat to turn burgers into artwork! We shared two desserts. The Dalí brought together pineapple and coconut ice creams, a crispy biscuit, moreish confit pineapple perfumed with vanilla and rum and it was finished delicately with vanilla oil. It was incredibly fragrant and fresh and the smell was intoxicatingly good.
We couldn’t leave without trying the dessert names after one of the world’s most iconic artists, could we? The Van Gogh was undoubtedly the star of the show. This dessert was a hot, molten chocolate tart with warming ginger ice cream and a crisp all-butter wafer. Chocolate and ginger are, for me, one of the best flavour combinations and it worked impeccably in this pudding. It was just gorgeous. The rich, sweet chocolate and warm ginger balanced perfectly and the crunch of the wafer provided a great contrast to the smooth, glossy, melted chocolate. Irresistible!
Colombian ingredients are the focus at Ciengramos. Whilst not too orthodox with design, and perhaps there is not always clarity over the influence of the artists, for the dishes we tried the flavours were fantastic. Each dish is said to take inspiration from principle characteristics of artists, though truly this is only very loose. I loved the concept but honestly, we couldn’t quite see the art in any of our dishes. Even the doc, a self-proclaimed art historian in his spare time couldn’t see much of a connection. Fortunately, we could put this to the side as the food was fantastic!
The concept is fun and the food is filled with flavour. It’s a beautifully relaxed environment and had we been in Bogota over the weekend, I’ve no doubt I’d have booked in for the Click Clack hotel weekend brunch or the dinner with live jazz, which takes place on Friday nights. With such a cool vibe and really tasty food and wine, I could definitely see myself returning. If I lived in Bogota, this is where I’d be on a regular basis!
If you’re in Bogota, Colombia, and fancy a change from the local food, this is where to go. Colombian food is varied and tasty but after some time it’s inevitable to want a taste of home! You’ll come for the great food and leave remembering the fun you had in this indoor greenhouse ‘grammable foodie hangout.
Where have you eaten in Colombia? Any recommendations? Comment below with your top spots!
Our meal for two, at Click Clack Hotel’s Ciengramos, was complimentary for the purpose of this blog review.
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