URKO Cocina is located in Quito, Ecuador in the trendy, cosmopolitan Floresta neighborhood. To dine there is to learn all about Ecuadorian cuisine. This is a dining experience that guides you thru the country while paying homage to its rich history, traditions and tastes. URKO expresses the best of Ecuador’s ancient and modern techniques.
Chef Daniel Maldonado and his crew work cooperatively and focus on cultivating a strong team work ethic. Chef is super dedicated to the growth and well being of each individual who is part of URKO. Social Responsibility also plays a big part in the URKO ethos.
Their goal is to connect their guests thru their menu with Ecuador’ land, ingredients and its people. The focus is on the purity, essence and the origin of their ingredients.
URKO Tasting Menu
The tasting menu arrives with an URKO passport. The passport has a map of the regions of Ecuador and lots of places to take notes. Diners are then invited on a ten course culinary journey throughout the country. This is a message that is written inside the passport:
«The tasting menu represents different places, suppliers and ecosystems. We get our inspiration from our culture, traditions and the combination of ancient and modern techniques from the local communities. It is a culinary journey where you can taste our history throughout experimentation. We hope you have a memorable experience.»
All of the courses are accompanied by a distinct beverage.
«Garden-Coast-Mangrove Swamp.» This course pays homage to both the coast of Ecuador and the many green fields found throughout the country. This dish has three parts. The basket is filled with greens that are grown on the rooftop of URKO. I love the dressing dispenser. It is quite memorable. In addition, there is a green plantain dough that is topped with sautéd shrimp as well as a slice of homemade bread topped with mushrooms. This was a vegetarian version of the dish so the mushrooms represent clams. The drink is a macerated sugar cane liquor with Andean mint.
«Potato-Pork-Cured.» This dish features a National favorite, pork. The pork is dried and served on top of a dehydrated, fried potato chip. The presentation is a basket of potatos wrapped in burlap.
This dish was served with URKO’s version of chicha, a traditional drink in Ecuador drunk from a mini bowl.
«Corn-Maqueño-Salprieta.» Corn and salprieta served on toast along with sweet plantain topped with cheese. Salprieta is a spice from the Ecuadorian coast. The dish is served on a mini oven to pay homage to the traditional dish which is found roadside in Ecuador and prepared on larger version of this stove.
Served with Purple corn Andean drink.
«Chaguarmishqui -Patasmuya -Neapia.» This dish is fish four different ways: cured fish with fermented agave and amazon lemon, fish with wild cacao, fish with roasted vegetables and smoked oil and fish with fermented fried yuca. This dish arrived with a framed chart noting coffee acidity from the different regions of Ecuador and a row of four test tubes. The tubes were filled with different coffee aromas, each one to be paired with the fish.
«Romanesco, Yogurt, Oyster Mushroom.» Broccoli grown in URKO’s rooftop garden with other fresh vegetables. A vegan option for diners for sure.
«Organic Chicken – Watermelon radish.» URKO uses radishes to accompany the chicken because their chicken supplier feeds them radishes. There is also a turnip purée spiraled in the bowl along with cured egg that gives a splash of color to the dish.
URKO supplements this salad for Vegans requests.
«Lamb – Apple – Barley.» Grilled lamb chop over yucca accompanied by barley and some greens.
URKO supplements this dish for Vegans:
After the seventh course, dessert begins.
«Whey-Babaco-Sorrel» An ice cream with merengue and cucumber
«Soursoup – Cacao – Milk.» Interesting play of textures here, all cold. Delicious.
«Claudia – Black Currant – Rose.» Only in Ecuador can you eat a sugar coated rose! Two ice cream pops horizontally layered with three different flavors.