Balloo, the chef-partner at longtime Miami restaurant, SUGARCANE raw bar grill, has ventured out on his own with a new, independent eatery, Balloo: Modern Home Cooking (19 SE 2nd Avenue). Housed inside The Ingraham Building in Downtown Miami, the restaurant is a partnership between Balloo, award-winning bartenders Gabriel Orta and Elad Zvi of Bar Lab, and real estate investor Shai Ben-Am.
The cuisine and the space is an ode to Balloo’s Chinese-Indian-Trinidadian heritage, and the concise menu features unique mashups of these different cuisines. Think items like roasted curry calabaza served with roti, burnt cabbage tossed with crispy pork, Spam fried rice with burnt pineapple, a Trini spiced oxtail served with pigeon peas and rice, curry goat, and Chili crab tteokbokki (a spicy rice cake). Spice in all its varieties is certainly the star of the menu, and the restaurant boasts three different hot sauces to serve with the dishes called wing wa, which also happens to be Balloo’s name in Chinese. Drinks stay simple with a small selection of wine and beers, and some clever creations like kombucha and Micheladas by the Bar Lab team, who’s forthcoming wine bar Margot will be located right next to the restaurant.