By Sylvester Grahame
One of the more ambitious restaurants I have had the pleasure to visit lately is, Huarmi’s at Coronel Talbot 9-39 and Gran Colombia.
Open for a year, the sparsely decorated dining room is particularly fitting as it does not detract from the lively colors and well-composed plates turned out by the kitchen. Almuerzo ($3.50) is taken seriously here; it is their major meal of the day and they make every opportunity to make it memorable. Other dishes include shrimp ceviche ($7), a variety of omlettes ($4.50), and a few pasta dishes ($9.50).
It was plain to see that every plate was carefully constructed and supervised by the chef prior to serving to a guest. The professional wait staff returned to the table frequently — without disruption — to be available if assistance was needed.
Huarmi means, “hard working woman,” and this restaurant lives up to its name. When I showed up at 1 p.m. the place was completely full and remained so until 2:30 p.m.
I chatted with a diner who has been frequenting the place almost since it opened last year. “I am an artist who recently resigned from the Museum of Modern Art,” he said,
He continued: “Many of the museum staff come here on a regular basis. They appreciate that the chef is always willing to accommodate dietary restrictions and preferences. I am a vegetarian and am always able to find something on the menu, or by special request to the kitchen, that is delicious.”
The ambition of Huarmi’s, however, is to go far beyond a well respected Almuerzo house. Several second-floor rooms were originally remodeled for over-night guests, but circumstances have changed so one is now a photography studio, another is a craftwork by a local woman’s co-op, and the third is slated to be a coffee lab, which will open as early as next week.
The facility will have a fully operational laboratory open for coffee roasters to learn the latest techniques of roasting, scientific studies on coffees, and workshops to further develop Ecuador’s reputation as a premier coffee producer. A sunlight basement displays selected gifts and artwork made by Sergio Loja, the restaurant manager — and father to the owner.
It is always a pleasure to visit a restaurant with clear direction as to where it is headed, and the patience to attend to the everyday as if it were the most important day. Huarmi’s reflects the growing sophistication of diners and restaurateurs alike.
Huarmi’s is a fine addition to a neighborhood that is quickly becoming a magnet for discriminating diners. I wish them well.
Huarmi’s: Col. Talbot 9.39 and Gran Columbia; Hours: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday – Saturday. Closed on Sunday; Cash only; Phone: 098-431-7828 Facebook: @huarmi’s coffee
Restaurant notes: Cuenca’s busiest pizzeria, Fabiano’s, is opening a west-side restaurant at the intersection of Gran Colombia and Unidad Nacional, under Common Grounds. According manager / owner Jocelyn, the new outlet, which joins the El Centro (Pres. Cordova at Mariano Cueva) and Challuabamba locations, will ease the pressure of home delivery to the Av. Lasso and Puertas del Sol neighborhoods as well as provide customers in those areas a new dine-in option. The new Fabiano’s should be open in one or two weeks.