Editor’s note: This restaurant closed at the end of 2016
It’s on a quiet corner of a quiet street in Quinta Camacho, just east of Carrera 10. I’ve always loved those English style houses in the area, with ivy covering the trees along the streets. But this time I wasn’t paying attention. I was looking for a restaurant – beware of a woman with an empty stomach – and I was searching for a sign that said Mordida Bistro. It’s a new place in the heart of Bogota’s best and brightest restaurant district, and I had no idea where it was.
What I learned from that experience was that sometimes it’s best not to look for a sign on a new restaurant in Colombia. Of course, Mordida Bistro does have a cute sign. It’s a little white sign above the white awning out front.
I did finally see it, and admired the thick wood doors and beams in the rustic white house, complete with wrought iron decorative bars. Firewood is stacked up at the entrance, and it’s not just a decoration; there is a cozy fireplace inside. (If it looks to you a little like La Despensa de Rafael, don’t think you’re going crazy. Mordida Bistro is from the same people who set up La Despensa).
Upstairs, in addition to a number of tables to eat at, there’s a small balcony with two tables, which is where I’m definitely having my meal the next time I come. For this meal, however, I chose the outside dining area on the ground level. I was accompanied by a feijoa tree, bougainvillea, ivy, begonias, and a palm tree. Willow trees peeked over from the neighboring yard.
I was there on a rainy afternoon, which made the quiet street feel romantic. I almost forgot I was in hectic Bogota. Of course, the staff thought I was crazy to stay outside with all that cold rain falling.
The idea at Mordida Bistro is to have…well, mordidas. Bites. Everything is designed to share, to picar (snack), or tapear (eat tapas). Of course, you can just order the dishes and keep them all to yourself, too. But the fun is in the sharing. Except the dessert. Don’t share it. Really.
The amount served is good for 2 people to share 3-4 dishes. 85% of the products are from Colombia, from right here in the savannah surrounding Bogota, from the Amazon, or another exotic location in Colombia. Vegetarian selections are clearly marked, as well as vegan and spicy dishes.
Daniel Pedroso is the Spanish chef that heads up the kitchen and thought up dishes like Jaiba rellena de salsa de curuba y coco, which is prawns filled with curuba sauce, coconut, red curry, and sprouts.
Most of the menu involves seafood. But you can find linguini, pinxtos, lamb, Angus beef, Ossobuco, pork ribs or duck. There are some salads with combinations that I won’t turn down, like burrata with figs, mora, and prosciutto or a peach salad that mixes goat cheese, mint, cashews, and mustard.
I was invited to try the tuna temaki and shrimp confit . Spring roll wrappings are fried into a cone shape and then filled with spicy tuna. Dots of guacamole sat underneath, and bright orange tobiko (flying fish caviar) was on top. The fish flavor was mild, so don’t be scared off if you’re not a fish lover.
The visually appealing organic quinoa salad was on a smooth, delicious arracacha root purée, topped with chips that they call Andean Crunchies. On the side, the baby corn with a mysterious smoked flavor and the cherry tomatoes provided a good balance.
I also tried a dish with artichokes, an excellent pancetta, mushrooms and a warm egg. The waiter mixes it all up at the table, creating a creamy, messy, fun plate. The strong flavors of this tapa beg for a red wine.
Brochetas de pargo rojo guajiro was delicately sautéed fish wrapped in thin zucchini strips and topped with finely chopped mango, vegetables, and radish sprouts, all on a convenient stick.
The Arroz meloso de mariscos del Pacifico comes in a black cast iron pan set on a green tinged rock slab. Octopus pieces and tiger shrimp mingle over a red risotto with a slightly sweet touch.
If you’re looking for vegan ceviche (not easy to find in Bogota), you can try their ceviche vegano concocted from mushrooms, vegetables, and tofu with leche de tigre. And by the way, if you’re a vegetarian, you can let them know in advance and they’ll put together a vegetarian tasting menu for you.
The wine list is good, although if you’re looking for a bargain, you won’t find it. The cheapest, a Cantaluna Cabernet Sauvignon from Argentina, was COP 58,000. From there the prices rise. There’s a selection from Portugal, Italy, France, Argentina, Spain and Chile, and the sommelier, Juan Franciso Vasto Uribe, is there to help you through the list.
The Toscana Le Rime Pinto Grigio-Chardonnay 2012 is easy on palate and easy on the wallet, a good choice for any of the seafood dishes or the vegan/vegetarian ones.
I had an intense microclimate Malbec – El Enemigo 2010 – from Argentina. It is now perhaps one of my favorite wines, though it seems it is just available in restaurants in Bogota.
Here beers hail from Belgium, Colombia, Chile, Spain, and Ireland.
The cocktail list is short. Besides a few classics, here are the specialties that highlight Colombian tastes:
- Feijoa Martini, with vodka, feijoa fruit, and elderberry flowers.
- Carambola Margarita – tequila, macerated star fruit (that’s the carambola in the name), lemon, orange and ají tahín.
- Uchuva sour – Pisco Demonio de los Andes with uchuva and lemon. (Never heard of uchuva? Check it out here).
- Ginger chilcano with Piso Quebranta, ginger, and mint.
The dessert list is a work in progress, but for now they have four options. My favorite is an interesting twist on apple pie. Served in a glass, cookie crumble mixes with finely chopped apples and a creamy topping. They also have house-made brownies and ice cream and arroz con leche.
Overall, I found Mordida Bistro to present a surprising variety of highest quality ingredients that are carefully prepared. Set in the quiet peacefulness of Quinta Camacho, it is definitely worth visiting.
Dishes: COP 19–42,000 (average in mid 20s)
Cocktails: From COP 16-19,000
Dessert: COP 15,000
Calle 69 A 10-15, Quinta Camacho, Bogota