The recent opening of Makeout, the first franchise of renowned chef Matthew Kenny in Bogotá, is yet another example of how the city’s food scene is slowly transforming into a true gastro hub by offering a wide selection of unique and consistently good dining options.
Makeout, a spin-off of take-out, offers sit down service and plant-based cuisine with innovative, satisfying, and ultra-healthy dishes, and without deprivations, nor sacrificing flavor or refinement.
In a country where animal protein makes-up the culinary stronghold of gastronomic identity, opening Makeout was a culinary venture with its share of high stakes, as well as cultural and practical challenges.
Sisters Martha Cecilia and Melissa Covo, both health enthusiasts, share a common interest in social responsibility, and are the friendly face of Makeout Bogotá. The siblings, just 11 months apart, were both on the lookout for a project that fulfilled their love of good food, nutrition and animals.
Melissa first contacted Kenny after eating in one of his restaurants in the US. Soon after, the family joined in the plant-based undertaking, and after six months of hard work, the sisters and three other partners opened the restaurant in December 2017.
“I have always been interested in a balanced way of eating to manage an ideal weight without starving,” says Martha Cecilia, a Psychologist with a graduate degree in Nutrition.
Melissa, on the other hand, earned her Political Science and International Relations degree at Northeastern, and worked with small farmers in the Andi Foundation. For her, eating well was a life changer.
“I was a bad eater, and felt sick all the time. I slowly changed my life. I would like people to know that there is an option for eating healthy. And, we, at Makeout, want to achieve this while helping the environment, animals, farmers, and contributing to the development of the country,” she explained.
The fact that the great majority of Colombians are meat eaters and don’t know about plant-based cooking was a risk the sisters were willing to take when they approached Kenny. Together they have adjusted some concepts to the local market, such as serving soups, using red radish instead of watermelon radish or replacing agave for maple syrup. The end result is an appealing and varied menu that offers creative and scrumptious options.
The food complies with the standards of the most demanding of the dietary spectrum: vegans (meaning no dairy or eggs), raw vegans (who eat uncooked food), and the majority of plant-based (who do not eat processed foods, nor add oil or salt to their diet.)
Every single dish, except for the bread, is made on premises, ensuring maximum quality and nourishment. Dehydrating machines and slow cookers are used in almost all their dishes to assure nutrients aren’t modified by heat. Most of the vegetables are organic, and come from small sustainable farms from around the country. The menu is enticing for non-vegetarians, and includes dishes reminiscent of different parts of the world.
The Nori roll ($15,000) is made with carrot pate and cashew cream cheese, wrapped in seaweed, and is served with radish and micro greens. It does not fall short of expectations, quite the opposite. It is rich, satisfying and interesting. The low sodium soya sauce that accompanies the dish enhances the flavor of each bite without neutralizing the spiciness.
As starters, try the Hummus with spiced cocoa crackers ($15,000), or the Guacamole with toasted sesame flatbread ($12,000). The crackers are tasty, crunchy and hearty without leaving your pallet ultra dry. The avocado toast with chili flakes, lime and sprouts on rye bread is delicate and satisfying. The appetizers are all popular dishes, luring in newcomers to try other plant-based dishes on the menu.
The Plant Burger, a popular meatless patty made of quinoa, mushrooms and chickpeas ($25,000) is savory and super healthy. Enjoy the beetroot and carrot ketchup. If pasta is a personal favorite, order the Cacio and Pepe or the Green Curry kelp noodles ($35,000). Both, appetizing and tasty, are served cold. And, if you prefer sandwiches, I highly recommend the Wild Mushroom with caramelized onion and spinach on ciabatta bread ($25,000), a per- fectly sharp and delightful combination. Gluten free bread is also available.
The options are many and varied, two of many reasons that explain the success this revolutionary restaurant has had in such a short time. “We are doing just great, we never expected it to happen so soon,” explained Martha Cecilia, before reaching out to new customers to explain to them that the food will be up to par with their expectations, even though animal protein doesn’t figure in the menu.
Makeout is open for breakfast offering the eggless chickpea frittata ($12,000), a tasty treat, and bowls of fruit and grains, as well as hot beverages. The breakfast, lunch and din- ner options at this modern restaurant with friendly staff was overdue, and much needed in a city where eating healthy in a beautiful setting can be a challenge.
Makeout – Cra. 9 No.81-18.
Tel: 793 3217