Elections are not just happening in this country and Europe, the first round of Colombia’s presidential elections was held on Sunday.

Under Colombian law, a “dry period” of 36 hours was observed from 6pm on the day before to 6am the following Monday.

Whilst not an expert, I suspect this doesn’t refer to a break in wet weather. Can you imagine the same thing being imposed in the UK?

Although Colombia may not be your traditional holiday destination, we spent three weeks there after a tour of central America. 

In Cartagena, famous for its book festival, we walked the city walls and feasted on ceviche in shaded courtyards once cruise ship crowds disappeared.

Bogota was more edgy but with fabulous museums, and the starting point for a Sunday steam train to a salt cathedral.  

We finished on Providencia: a small, primitive island with a 20k coral barrier, long, white sandy beach, warm Caribbean, sea and no mobile or internet signals.

So when E17 pop up (www.e17popup.co.uk) advertised a five-course Colombian menu for £16 in Walthamstow’s Rose and Crown, it seemed the ideal way to round off a wet bank holiday weekend.

We were greeted with a shared platter of fresh coconut chunks, grapes and vegetable fritas, with lots of peas and carrots, accompanied by a dish of spiced syrup tasting of star anise.

Chicken tamales, served beautifully on banana leaves, were a wholesome starter. Potato, chicken and more peas and carrots were encased in dough.

Perhaps the British equivalent of a Cornish pasty? A small dish of warm, home-made salsa was rich, thick and not too spicy. The portion was generous and I dreaded the size of the main.


Fortunately the Paisa pie with minced beef, pork, chorizo and kidney beans was served in a small ramekin topped with a layer of something crunchy. 

Accompanied by a small, shared jug of gravy and well-dressed salad leaves it was gently spicy and comforting fork food for a cold, wet night.

Having made a lemon and passion fruit trifle for weekend guests, papaya trifle wouldn’t have been my ideal choice of dessert. However, this was a glass of well chilled papaya, pineapple, blancmange and jelly without the creaminess of an English trifle.

The small shot of home-made, non alcoholic mango colada was a thick puree and an ideal way to finish our meal.

The food was so good, I wondered where else I could find Colombian food in London. Google revealed La Ruana (www.laruana.co.uk), virtually opposite the Rose and Crown in Hatherley Mews. 

Only open on Friday and Saturday evenings, it’s high up on my ‘must visit’ places list.

If you’ve been, do share your experience with me at foodintheforest@btinternet.com.