Address: Calle 65 Bis # 4-85 (between 4th and 5th streets), Bogotá
It seems that Bogotá is currently swimming in a sea of North American-inspired food trends. At least a handful of new hamburger joints seem to pop up every few months, I see comfort foods like mac and cheese on menus more and more often, food trucks are just now rearing up to be “the next big thing”, and real barbecue is gaining momentum. Case in point…
Even though I’m all for Colombian gastronomy and its growth and appreciation, I do believe that every capital city should have a large variety of restaurants. Enter La Fama, Bogotá’s first southern barbecue restaurant and innovators of the Colombian barbecue.
What is a Colombian barbecue? It consists of using the hump of the beautiful Cebú cow, pictured below. I’ve been a fan of these animals ever since I can remember and not necessarily for their meat; they’re just really cute. Aren’t they?
Anyways, the menu at La Fama has all kinds of barbecued meat like pork ribs, pork belly, chicken wings, brisket, baby back ribs, chicken, suckling pig, and then some. But all those are your everyday cuts of meat…what really defines this Colombian barbecue is the hump or morrillo, a part of the cow that is not usually considered a prime cut.
In order to make this place as authentic as possible, a couple of pro butchers (None other than Tom Mylan and Brent Young of Brooklyn’s The Meat Hook) were brought from the States to help out. During their quest to find the best brisket, they came across, and barbecued, the hump and the rest is history…very recent history, but history nonetheless. I didn’t even know you could eat the hump. Did you?
Well, you can. And as you can kind of make out in the picture above, it is marbled with fat and that is very much a good thing.
Meat, meat, meat!
Did I mention I am on the verge of becoming a vegetarian? Yes, well, it’s not easy (I’ll elaborate in another blog post) but I am trying to eat a lot less meat of any kind which brought me to La Fama for a second time (I ate a lot of meat the first time) in order to to try their salad. All by its lonesome on the meat-heavy menu, the salad turned out to be one of the best I’ve had in Bogotá. Of course, the waiter’s idea is for you to order the salad with a pile of meat on top, but it does beautifully on its own, accompanied by a meatless appetizer or side dish, of which there are quite a few.
My final verdict is that La Fama is a welcome addition to the Bogotá food scene. It is a meat lovers paradise but also a somewhat veg-friendly spot. They have comforting desserts like pecan pie and an ice cream sandwich, unpretentious ambience which is supposed to make people comfortable enough to eat with their hands (some highfalutin Bogotanos have this “thing” where they eat everything with a fork and knife…even burgers and ribs…it’s mind-boggling), and a great soundtrack of BBQ appropriate music.
Also, La Fama has a conscience: it sources its meat from responsible farms that care about the wellbeing of their animals, part of the restaurant is run by solar power, rainwater is used in the bathrooms, and probably some other sustainable, earth-friendly things that I don’t know about.
I leave you with a series of 3 excellent videos (in spanish and english with subtitles in spanish) that show part of the process that led to the creation of one of 2012s most anticipated restaurants, La Fama: