With a solid marble exterior and gleaming window display of ice stacked fish, fully accepting of their ceviche bound fate, El Kilo sure knows how to highlight its ample assets.
Scrambling inside, you’ll find yourself sucked headfirst into a hipster gastro-haunt in NY: lots of steel, scrubbed wood, marble and waiters clad in Holister shirts and skinny jeans.
But interior fashion is where the stars and stripes influence starts and ends. There are no burgers here (with the exception of a sexy prawn and crab number), because El Kilo’s belly is a hearty Colombian one that bleeds costeño soul.
A quick once over the menu confirms these suspicions. Fish and Caribbean style seafood is El Kilo’s raison d’êtr.
The menu is big on options and portions. If you despise stingy sized giblet starters, then your stomach will sigh with relief at the varied selection of appetizers all plying for main course status.
The grilled octopus on a bed of crushed herb encrusted potatoes is a knockout that can easily be shoveled down by two ravenous tongues. As is the garlic fused yuka mash and king sized prawns, wrapped in smoky bacon and drenched in a delightful in-house sauce that will leave you scraping the attractive bread board it’s served on.
In utmost Caribbean fashion, ceviches are El Kilo’s namedropper, and deservedly so. You choose your fish, then your sauce (even the most seasoned ceviche fiends will do a double take at the Lulo fruit one). The signature El Kilo ceviche, which consists of lime-tanned fish bathed in a sour cream and yellow pepper dressing, comes particularly recommended.
Indeed, the menu's stress on sauce (nearly every dish has a relish sidekick) is a clever tactic that sheds the risk of the restaurant being labeled as just 'another seafood restaurant'. Here, the concoctions wrestle with your taste buds to stand out, so even a simple fish of the day is lifted from the doldrums with a heartbreaker of a sauce that’ll have you licking your spoon.
Just as well then that the portions are super-size-me proportions. We attacked the marvelous seafood platter, a mash up of salty squid, wonderfully flaky snapper and fleshy lobster tail, served in a higgledy piggldy style on a slab, with the enthusiasm of a pelican gutting the sea for its next meal.
When cocktail hour strikes, El Kilo comes up trumps with a killer cocktail list that's as sharp as the in-house mixologist's swag. Original drink recipes - check out their infused whisky combos - as well as twists on the old classics, such as, 'It's Not a Mojito', show these guys aren't just serious about seafood.
Leave stuffed, tipsy...and at least one kilo heavier than before you came in.
THIS IS WHAT WE LOVE
* Prime cuts of fish served with wickedly delicious sauces you can’t get anywhere else.
* An International decorated shell with a distinctly Colombian soul.
* These guys have been opened a month and are already the talk of the town, so they must be doing something right.
* Go for the food, stay for the cocktails. Now that's a philosophy we can happily get on board with.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
* Some of the dishes are priced by weight.
* This is primarily a seafood restaurant, but they have got vegetarian options available on request.
* This place fills up on the weekend, so book early to avoid disappointment.
* The restaurant can fit up to 70 people with 20 seated at the bar.