The steak and lobster house of the 5-star JW Marriott takes its inspiration from the underground Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá. The salt theme runs high and low throughout this hotel restaurant as it is evident that architect Miguel Soto made a conscious decision to replicate the feeling of a mine when you can’t find a single window. Heavy stone walls are tamed by diffused lighting, soft pastels and velvet armchairs. Modern elegance and spacious seating make La Mina the choice for business conversations and a special occasion.
La Mina makes an effort to stand alone by opting for an iPad wine menu instead of a speaking sommelier. Many of its courses are “courtesy of the chef” which include a mini mango juice and crab cake starter. Both are strangely sweet to start off a meal.
After our complementary snacks, the salt theme turns up at our table. Four tubes of different colors are explained by our waiter as being salts. Taking its identity seriously the salts are: a bamboo infused Hawaiian for seafood, a black Jamaican for beef, an orange pepper-infused French La Mina for salads and pastas and finally, another Hawaiian of ‘red volcanic’ extraction for poultry. All very metaphysical.
I am confronted by another mystery: a tiny tablet served on two rectangular plates. It strikes me as an astronaut’s meal. The waitress rescues me and starts pouring what appears to be water on the pill. The elaborate performance is a trick in La Mina’s repertoire to claim it’s no ordinary venue.
La Mina’s strength is steak and grilled foods. A seasonal menu changes every two weeks and our turn was the Centolla with its European spider crab menu. I am thrown off by the menu that did not offer crab dishes, but dishes with the spider crab as a complementing ingredient. A sea bass topped with crab and mozzarella didn’t do justice to the fish’s delicate flavor. The crab’s timid presence seemed more aesthetic than integral. The salmon was quite exceptional given it was cooked perfectly. A fluffy puff pastry contrasted with the meat and made every bite a gratifying one.
Desserts were also nice, but not exceptional for a 5-star hotel restaurant. The chocolate gateaux with hazelnut syrup was reservedly pleasant but didn’t leave a strong impression. Our two courses (main and dessert) with coffee and half a bottle of Chilean white cost $200.000 pesos (US$ 120). The service was attentive, and you sense the kitchen cares about the freshness of food.
The rotating menu is attractive and good for returning clients. A night in La Mina left us content and eager to explore more of this city’s elegant restaurant options.
Calle 73 No. 8-60