Colombia’s first Nikkei!


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EXCITED! The beginning of some serious sake drinking experience.

 

Toshiro Konishi, a Japanese chef who has been working in Peru for the last 30 years after studying in the same restaurant as Nobu in Japan, has just opened his new venture in Bogotá in collaboration with La Fragata! Toshiro (no website yet) serves up Nikkei delicacies, or, ‘Peruvian Japanese’ dishes. So think cebiche and flamed sushi with Philadelphia. Nikkei is the ‘talk of the town’ cuisine at the moment, since Ferran Adrià, the master chef behind El Bulli, opened Pakta in Barcelona last year.

It’s also the first and only robatayaki restaurant in Latin America! Robatayaki is a ‘Japanese’ barbecue, characterised by a long, heavy wooden stick with a plank at the end that the chef would use to bring you your food from the grill after having cooked it in front of you.

With Toshiro, a sense of Japanese cool finally arrives in Bogotá. Other than Wok, Osaki and Teriyaki, Wabisabi was our closest to having an authentic Japanese experience, although not quite a glamorous one.

Blue fin tuna tiradito

Blue fin tuna tiradito

My favourite was definitely the blue fin tuna tiradito and scallops in leche de tigre (a sauce made of lime juice, raw fish juice, chili and onion). Essential Japanese ingredients like katsuobushi asserted its presence in the slightly Chinese fish and prawn stuffed aubergine. And I was surprised to get a matcha (Japanese green tea) dessert. The green tea cheesecake came with oreo crumbs, which I wish had come with Adzuki (red beans) instead. I’m sure by January when their pastry chef flies over from Japan they’ll get some real Japanese desserts going.

One beautiful thing about Toshiro is the muti-ethnicity and nationality of the staff. On my visit, I met a Peruvian, a half chinese Peruvian, 2 Japanese, a Venezuelan and of course, Colombians. Real service is thus made possible by the Japanese waiter. It’s the Japanese service that makes you feel you’re the REAL customer (trust me you don’t get that in many other places).

Since it was Bogotá’s annual car fair this weekend, Toyota’s global CEO actually paid his tribute to the restaurant. You can see how Toshiro may be aiming to become an institution in Bogota.

The tasting menu of 5 courses was at COP 60.000 (USD 30). The hot sake was SURPRISINGLY cheap (COP 18.000) for Bogota’s rip-off standard.

Calle 90 * 11

Phone: 256 6724

Simple wood and minimalist interior that evokes a Japanese spirit

A simple wood and minimalist interior that evokes a Japanese spirit

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One comment

  1. Shouldn’t eat blue fin tuna!! It’s on its way to extinction. (Or maybe, eat up before it’s gone!) But otherwise great article and sounds like a nice addition to the gastro scene here.

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