Food to Warm the Heart
Alejandro Garcia
Bars & Restaurants

Food to Warm the Heart

It’s been over a year since El Humero last featured in these pages, and in that time the popular Takapuna restaurant has continued to do what they do best - providing diners with a unique taste of Colombia in a relaxed, homely environment.

Owners Esteban Erazo and Alejandro Garcia are justifiably proud of what they have achieved since El Humero opened two years ago. Esteban says: “We have built up a large number of very loyal diners and are still Takapuna’s top rated eatery on Tripadvisor. For our second birthday, we celebrated with staff and customers as we are so happy with this achievement. Word of mouth is spreading and the restaurant is very busy. We feel honoured that we have been so well supported here in Takapuna.”

Alejandro is the expert when it comes to cooking the traditional Colombian fare, and he can be seen in front of the barbecue most days. “The current menu is full of El Humero favourites – based around our delicious selection of meats from the wood fired oven or barbecue,” says Esteban. The traditional beef empanadas have been joined by a vegetarian option, and there is also a vegetarian dish of plantain sautéed with vegetables, feta and mozzarella. Plantain is a less sweet variety of banana, and El Humero import these direct from Colombia. Pork sausage made to their own recipe, along with chorizo, crispy pork belly, and homemade black pudding round out the selection of entrees.

The mains menu is designed so diners can select their meat dish, a side dish and sauce of their choice, which is all included in the price. Dishes such as Costillas – El Humero’s famous short beef ribs, Carne Empalada - marinated beef knuckle, and Lomo Ancho - aged sirloin steak are always popular. Side dishes include arepa, which is a South American flat bread made with corn and is gluten-free, along with croquettes, cassava wedges and criolittas - small Colombian potatoes which are unique to El Humero in New Zealand. The selection of sauces are made fresh daily and include tomato, tamarind and chilli and guacamole.

With their shared passion for Colombian food and culture Esteban and Alejandro have taken care to make sure their menu as authentic as possible. This extends to the drinks menu, which offers natural juices and soft drinks imported from Colombia, exclusive to El Humero here in New Zealand. Another traditional drink is Aguardiente, a South American spirit similar to vodka, which has an aniseed flavour and can be served as shots or with a mixer. Medellin is a smooth and easy-drinking rum which can be served on the rocks or with a mix. A range of South American wines and beers are also available for a relaxed drink at the bar, or to enjoy with friends out the back in the cosy courtyard.

Esteban and Alejandro are planning a celebration at El Humero for Colombian independence day on 20th July, and with other exciting changes afoot and the popularity of this local establishment growing, it’s definitely a case of watch this space!

El Humero, Shop 3, Fortieth & Hurstmere, 40 Hurstmere Road, Takapuna, 09 489 9973, www.elhumero.co.nz

By Bridget Phillips

Channel Magazine: Issue 78 July 2017

Eating Out articles by Bridget Phillips