Herbario, we visited on a few occasions and one that every tourist goes to at least once on an extended stay in Medellin. All the new tourists (with their prepagos) just head to the naff eateries in and around Parque Lleras.
Herbario was a new concept when in opened in Medellin. You were given the choice of ordering a different starter, a main course and a dessert. To be able to do this a few years ago was unheard of. A novel concept had hit Medellin. What I really hated about this was that the waiters came over and explained the concept to you. So condescending I thought.
The norm up to this point was to have the “menu del dia”. Which consisted of a soup, main course and a drink. So to be able to order different courses excited the normally traditional Paisas. Normally these fads come and go, but with the good cooking of Herbario it stayed. Plus more Paisas were actually leaving the country for extended periods of time, where as before it had all been those folks from Bogotá. Things were a changing for the returning Paisas.
Our last visit to Herbario was actually very similar to the other times we had eaten there. The menu had not really changed that much. Same cuts of meat, but now came with different sides and different sauces, but in essence it’s the same menu they opened with all those years ago. Time to mix things up a bit I think. Maybe the chef is too scared to drift to much.
Now Herbario is a good restaurant, a great one by Medellin standards. In fact by Medellin standards its one of the best, but comparing it to places in New York or London, then it’s pretty so so. You could get the same standard of cooking here for half the price you pay in Herbario in Medellin. But this is from a region where people still eat beans and rice at least twice a week. I know I did.
But Medellin is a restrained city and its people are just making there way into a wide world of exotic flavours and foods. They are a people who take two steps forwards and one step back all the time. Traditional people who are just starting to open their eyes a little bit wider. To some it is fascinating, to others it scares the living daylights out of them and Herbario to those who can afford it is helping them on their way.