Friday, August 8, 2014

SUGARCANE Raw Bar Grill brings Chef Timon Balloo to the Wynwood Midtown District

Hop on a hammock, close your eyes. Let’s head to a place that’s warm – where palms sway and drums play. Take a third Caipirinha – or a fat cigar. Indulge in the freshest ingredients and some quality time with friends and family. Kick back, eat well and stay awhile. This is SUGARCANE raw bar grill.
THE STORY  in a word or two

SUGARCANE raw bar grill is located in the heart of Miami’s emerging Midtown district 3252 NE First Avenue. Developed by the owners of SAMBA BRANDS MANAGEMENT, SUGARCANE raw bar grill is inspired by international influences and South American spirit.
Three distinct kitchens:  robata, hot and raw bar unite for a fresh take on tradition and a unique culmination of flavor. Embarking on a quest for the simple pleasures of life: eating well, kicking back and celebrating with friends – the concept focuses on a ‘shared experience’ through its eclectic menu of small plates, artisanal cocktails, and an extensive rum selection. With 4,200-square-feet of interior space, an impressive outdoor terrace, a private gallery, and indoor/outdoor bars – SUGARCANE raw bar grill is the perfect venue for special events.

Born to Chinese and Trinidadian parents, Timon Balloo’s scrapbook of memories leads with days on the farm, ethnic recipes and a favorite pastime of watching not-so-traditional childhood television – PBS’ Yan Can Cook. So, in 1998 when Balloo enrolled in Johnson & Wales University, it came as no surprise to family and friends that he would pursue a career behind the stove.

While Balloo has since been recognized as a Distinguished Visiting Chef (2012) by the University, his first real lesson in the kitchen was on humility, taught by “Professor” Allen Susser. “In Susser’s kitchen, you were broken down and then built back up,” Balloo explains. “My time cooking at Chef Allen’s gave me a new respect for food.”

Courtesy: Ellen Bowen,
Through the international program of extended studies, Balloo traveled to Belgium to work at Hotel Métropole under French Master, Chef Dominique Michou. From Entremetier Comis (hot line) to Patisserie Comis, Balloo honed his classical culinary training skills. “The vegetables and animals would often come straight from the farm,” Balloo explains. “It wasn’t unusual for us to have to skin and pluck the next dish… now that was farm-to-table cooking!”

Returning to the United States, Balloo became Junior Sous Chef at the five-star AZUL in Miami’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel, under the leadership of Michelle Bernstein. Identifying Bernstein as his greatest mentor, Balloo recalls, “She taught me to cook from my heart and, as such, I started to craft my own approach to food with Asian-Caribbean soul.”

From La Broche in Miami to SUSHISAMBA park in New York City, Balloo cooked his way to the top, earning the title of Executive Chef.  Among his favorite dishes at SUSHISAMBA was the Moqueca Mista, “It touches a depth of flavors, is simply prepared – void of ‘fancy’ techniques – and has personality when it enters the dining room. Food is about life and excitement, but it’s also very much about integrity.”

Courtesy: The South Florida Sage
Through the use of simple ingredients to fuel great food, Balloo’s signature juxtaposition of bold flavors on small plates started to take shape. A brief, one-year departure (2007-2008) from the SUSHISAMBA restaurant group resulted in a partnership with Amir Ben-Zion to launch Domo Japones in Miami’s Design District. The Japanese-concept highlighted one-of-a-kind ingredients in a former post office turned restaurant setting. Though brief, Balloo’s menu was awarded three stars by The Miami Herald and voted “Best Japanese 2008” by Miami New Times.

An opportunity to reconnect with the SUSHISAMBA restaurant group in 2009 as the Executive Chef and Partner of SUGARCANE raw bar grill (SUGARCANE) brought Balloo back to their kitchen. “I’ve always appreciated the brand’s contribution to the industry, from the great ingredients to the warm environment.”

Opening with much fanfare in 2010, SUGARCANE has been celebrated locally with a three star review from The Miami Herald; a nod for “Best New Restaurant,” and “Best Up-and-Coming Chef” from Miami New Times; and the titles, “Restaurant of the Year” and “Chef of the Year” (Miami) by Eater. On a national level, the restaurant earned recognition as a semi-finalist for “Best New Restaurant” by the James Beard Foundation and Balloo received a nomination for “The People’s Best New Chef” by Food & Wine in 2011. Most recently, Balloo was honored as Distinguished Visiting Chef by Johnson & Wales University, not to mention the restaurant’s AAA Four Diamond rating for 2013.

Today, Balloo’s zeal and vivacity continues to manifest in his dishes. Dana Cowin, Editor-In-Chief of Food & Wine said it best, calling Balloo’s menu at SUGARCANE, “A greatest hits of delicious dishes.”

South Florida Location:


SUGARCANE raw bar grill
3252 NE 1st Avenue
Miami, FL 33137
Phone:  (786) 369-0353
Contact Online
Mon 11:30 am - 12:00 am  
Tue   11:30 am - 12:00 am  
Wed 11:30 am - 12:00 am  
Thu  11:30 am - 1:00 am  
Fri    11:30 am - 2:00 am    
Sat   10:00 am - 2:00 am  
Sun  10:00 am - 12:00 am 
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Miami Spice

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August 1 – September 30

Enjoy Executive Chef Timon Balloo’s special three-course tasting menus!

Lunch $23 | Dinner $39
tax, beverage & gratuity additional

Weekend Brunch
Every Saturday and Sunday 10:00am - 4:30pm
Brunch at SUGARCANE – something to wake up for!
Celebrate the weekend with our sweet and savory a la carte brunch menu!

Happy Hour
Every Monday - Friday, 4pm - 7pm

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kick back. eat well. stay awhile.
delicious snacks, tapas, raw bar items and sushi rolls for $3 – $12
signature cocktails for $7
pitchers of beer or sangria for $25

*happy hour menu available at the bar only

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