Santanera is a Canggu destination that offers not only meticulously crafted cuisine and creative cocktails but also a chic and welcoming ambience – one that makes you want to stay and lose track of time. Standing three-stories high amidst the trendy shops and rice fields, Santanera is the place to be in Canggu.
The restaurant was born from the collaborative efforts of nine friends with various skills and the same vision, including two skilled chefs – Andres Beccera and German Rincon. Coming all the way from Colombia, the chefs have brought along their experience, expertise and enlightening inspirations from their travels around the world, infusing European, Mediterranean and Latin American flavours to Santanera’s menu.
When it comes to the culinary selection, Santanera encourages guests to share good food with good friends by offering a rich variety of flavours that complement one another in large portions. If you’re having difficulty making up your mind, opt for the set menu and let the team craft it all for you.
A fresh and fragrant homemade sourdough makes an appetising start as a perfect companion to the umami mahi-mahi tarama, or the lush jamon Iberico. Whet your appetite with the bocados – light bites – selection, offering delicacies like the popular scallop tartelette with salmon roe, tapioca pearls and jalapeño emulsion; or the baby squid with black garlic mole on plantain crackers.
Dishes like the hamachi ceviche and the dry-aged bass grouper with clams showcase the freshness of the ingredients, showing how the culinary team respects authentic flavours. However, the four-week dry-aged duck deserves its own recognition, with its tender, succulent texture complemented by the perfectly crunchy duck skin. The dish is served with charred beetroot, mole rosa and hibiscus, creating a perfect balance of flavours and textures.
Stylish and atmospheric, Santanera exudes the promise of an unforgettable night. The cosy bohemian-chic-style dining area on the first floor is ideal for a celebratory dinner or simply a quality meal with friends and family, with the sultry bar taking centre stage. For something more intimate, the dining area continues to the second floor. The evening does not stop after the desserts. The Terraza on the rooftop is where you continue the fun, with great music, festive companions and endless potent tipples in an idyllic open-air setting.
E: Where do you get your inspirations for your culinary creations?
A: The spark can be from many things, such as an ingredient, a taste, a smell, a texture, something I ate or a cookbook that I’m going through. Creating dishes for Santanera for me is about trying to find the balance between my Colombian heritage and my Spanish cooking experience. I find creativity to be one of the best aspects of being a chef, obtaining a raw product from a farmer, respecting it and transforming it into something else is one of the most rewarding parts of being a chef. Don’t get me wrong, 90 percent of the ideas that we try end up in failure, at least at the beginning, but this is just part of the creative process and it’s also what keeps us pushing to be better than we were the day before.
G: I am inspired by different experiences I’ve had, such as travelling, the flavours of South America, my grandma’s recipes, restaurants where I’ve worked in Australia and Colombia, and restaurants I’ve visited around the world. Inspiration also comes from the most random places, like spontaneous ideas to combine flavours in order to create a dish.
E: How would you describe your journey in the culinary industry?
A: My family has a restaurant up in the hills, 20 minutes out of Bogota, and my father is a chef, so naturally I was born into the hospitality industry. Growing up I had the opportunity to witness how much hard work and effort chefs put into satisfying others – which is now one of the aspects of my job that I’m most passionate about. Movida has been the most influential place for me as a chef, and where I grew the most in my career. I also had the opportunity to complete some stages at Relae and Els Casals, both were pivotal learning experiences for me too, teaching me the important connection between farming and cooking.
G: I’d describe my culinary journey as an adventure that has brought me to many different places around the world, always learning something new, and giving me a chance to apply my knowledge. It has definitely been a crazy time with a lot of hard work too, however I’m so thrilled to have experienced all these years in the culinary industry and hopefully have many more to come.
E: What has been the most rewarding / memorable moment in your career?
A: I think what we have achieved in the last 12 months at Santanera has been the most rewarding part of my career – being able to utilise the experience and knowledge that I have built over my cooking career in the restaurant and seeing it grow and develop has been incredibly rewarding. The most memorable moments for me are probably working alongside some amazing people and chefs over the years, from Christian Puglisi from Relae and René Redzepi from Noma, to Frank Camorra and all the talented chefs who came through the doors while I was working at Movida. Last but not least, of course, is working with German, one of my best friends, at Santanera, as well as every past and present kitchen staff member who has contributed to what the restaurant is today.
G: I have had many rewarding moments in my career. Personally, I think it was when I was promoted in the kitchen, starting from the bottom and working to the top, or when I have created a master dish. One of the most fulfilling moments is when I see people’s reactions trying a dish I’ve created; if you see them nod their heads it means you are winning!
E: What do you think is the key to being a good chef?
A: Like anything in life, discipline, organisation, consistency and, of course, passion.
G: For me what comes first is love and passion for what you do. Without that, it is impossible to succeed. Saying that though, consistency, hard work and creativity will make you a good chef.
E: Is there any new or upcoming update from Santanera that you can share with us?
A: We are always striving to be better and refine what we do, so the menu at Santanera is always evolving. After one year of being open we are finding our feet, we have a team of passionate, dedicated chefs that understand what we are about. This year we are planning to do more events and collaborations around Indonesia and Singapore to promote the Santanera name across the country and the region. We are also planning to open for lunch this year, so we are working on a slightly different concept to the one we have for dinner.
G: At Santanera we are always improving our dishes and creating new ones, often rotating the menu. We have our Terraza now, where we offer snacks and bites to be served with a cocktail or a glass of wine while you enjoy the sunset. We are also working on a lunch menu… coming soon.
- Dry-aged duck
- Scallop and salmon roe tartelette
- Char-grilled octopus