Forget about grilled cheese sandwiches made on a Coleman stove in the parking lot of a Grateful Dead show. Chef Paula Silva’s new restaurant is redefining what it means to eat like a hippie, as Karen Catchpole discovers
When Colombian chef and restaurant consultant Paula Silva, 38, decided to open a new restaurant (her second) she wanted it to reflect her personal passions. The certified yoga instructor has a small, sunny yoga and meditation room in her apartment, owns a noteworthy number of bellbottoms and sometimes wears a bindi. Her name choice of ‘Hippie’ should therefore surprise no one.
Value for money: 4.5/5
Located, by pure chance, near Parque de los Hippies in Chapinero, Silva says her restaurant strives to create “pure” food using organic ingredients whenever possible. Dishes are made without processed salt (only sea salt) or processed sugar (only honey or panela) and fresh and house-dried herbs are used liberally. However, Hippie is not a temple to sprouts and coconut oil. It’s not even vegetarian.
Indeed, one of the most amazing dishes on the overwhelmingly pleasing menu is the beef lomo. Cured with fennel and sage and sliced into ¼ inch thick morsels, the rich, tender goodness is served with a goat cheese sauce on the side. Boring old tartare should be very worried.
Another winner is Silva’s salcado de pulpo which presents a well-rounded riot of flavours including melt-in-your-mouth octopus, freshly grilled artichoke heart, tiny tomatoes that explode with sweetness and a serving of creamy criollo potatoes.
While vegetarians aren’t the focus of the menu, they are well served, particularly with Silva’s veggie burger. Delivering a twist to the humble meat-free staple, the patty is made from sprouted lentils and corn and is served on a moist and tasty bright pink bun (baked in-house with beets).
A small dessert menu packs a punch with rich chocolate and chia mousse and a deconstructed cheesecake. Served in a glass jar, the light cheesecake is topped with tart fresh fruit and a rich crumble. Silva perfected the recipe at her first restaurant.
The tiny bar is anchored by a bartendress who turns out freshly muddled cocktails, beer and wine. The refreshing signature Hippie cocktail is made with gin, muddled kiwi and fresh marjoram and is presented elegantly in a giant snifter over ice. If you’re sick of the omnipresent gin and tonic, give this a try.
Silva brings all of her culinary background to play at Hippie including techniques and tastes she perfected at her first restaurant in Cali, Khemia Cocina Imaginativa. Opened in 2005, the restaurant offered Caleños a cuisine with molecular touches. Even before opening Khemia though, Silva had restauranteering in her blood. Her parents ran the iconic Girasoles restaurant in Cali for decades. This breadth of experience can be seen in the attention to detail at Hippie.
Silva spent months renovating and personalising a two story home into a serene, thoughtful restaurant. With seating on both levels, along with an upstairs living room and lending library (which is sometimes used for yoga classes), the fireplace downstairs is the final touch to make the space feel like home. The dog friendly outdoor patio features lovely lighting and heat lamps, inviting visitors to linger over a richly infused tea or freshly made juice or smoothie.
The most stereotypically “hippie” thing on the menu is the bottled water which is said to take on various positive attributes through the words printed on the glass (relaxation, happiness, etc). If you’re into that sort of thing you can buy the water at Botica Hippie, Silva’s shop next door, along with house baked bread (including Silva’s vibrant and tasty beet bread), artisanal chocolate, honey, herbs and more good-for-you goodies to go.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served seven days a week with entrées ranging from COP$12,00-COP $25,000, mains COP$19,00-COP$32,00 and desserts COP$16,000. Cocktails on the menu range from COP$18,000 to COP $28,000 .
Address: Calle 56 #4a-15
By Karen Catchpole