“Due to our eagerness to reflect what the soil can give us at the right time, we bring you the best product coming from a small, uncommon corner of the planet, that we consider priceless”.
While in Chile for our New Year’s vacation, we were lucky enough to score a reservation at BORAGó. As we left the Singular Santiago hotel, we felt like we had already made a great decision when the doorman said “very nice, how’d you get a reservation?” as we told him where we were headed while exiting the front doors in route to the cab waiting curbside. BORAGó is located in the heart of Santiago and is currently listed at #2 on a list of the Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2015.
Our cab was driving down a nondescript street, in what seemed to be a residential area, when we saw BORAGó. The warmth of the staff could be felt as we entered the restaurant. We were greeted promptly by the host and given a few “bites” as a welcoming. Our eyes wandered throughout the rustic restaurant as we were quickly led to our table.
There was so much to see inside the main dining area which included a full view into the kitchen. This is where the magic happens as each chef meticulously prepares their dish for guests. We would estimate 12-15 chefs working at a time that we were able to see through the glass. It was fun to see them moving around the kitchen and then come out to serve their dish.
We started the meal off with a berry Pisco Sour as we prepared for our Chilean feast. The waiter explained that there was no menu, but diners could choose to experience either the 8 or 18-Course tasting menu. The menu is seasonal and is constantly changing. Menu items feature all Chilean ingredients. Diners could also add a Chilean wine or juice pairing option as well. Cost for each was discussed and in the end, we choose the 18-course menu plus Chilean wine pairing!
As we jump into the meal, I will admit a little slacking on our part. We took pictures, which you will see, while listening intently to the amazing staff members as they came out to our table course by course to explain the intricate details of each course’s creation. Our brain’s could not process and save all of the meticulously detailed information given to us throughout the meal. I really should learn Spanish!
This was the first course. You will notice the small “bites” nestled against the Monkey Puzzle Tree above the rocks. This was a nut harvested from the Monkey Puzzle Tree which are native to Central and Southern Chile. The trees don’t yield seeds until they are 30-40 years old but can live to be 1,000 years old. This was a unique flavor unlike anything we’ve ever tasted or probably will taste outside of Chile.
Stone bowl with a mushroom cream, crispy leaves and sprinkled with mushroom powder. Each course came with a different style of cutlery specifically created and paired with each dish used to hold the course we were eating. All of the dishes and cutlery were made in Chile.
This course was odd and unlike anything we’ve experienced. In the center of this stone bowl, there was a rock covered in a black puree, with a piece of smoked conger eel over which broth was added. The chef explained that it was recommended to scrape the puree off the rock and then spoon some of the smoked fish, briney broth and crispy leaves. The combination of flavors were spectacular and weird at the same time.
Four different kinds of a Chilean vegetable(think sea asparagus) that grows on the banks of the rivers. We were instructed to start with the one closest to us then work our way back. Each pureed portion had a similar yet different taste. As we worked our way down the line, we began to taste the sea. This reflected the growing areas/placement of the plants which grew at different elevations and proximity to the sea. This course naturally was the transition from land to the sea courses.
We began our transition into the sea with this Eel soup served in a shell sitting in a bowl of sea rocks. The bamboo straw served as the vehicle for us to consume the fish soup. It was accompanied by a shellfish-parmesan cracker.
The cuttlefish was wrapped around a squid-inked bread stick with wild greens (herbs, leaves and blossoms) added that were locally foraged. It was amazing how such small bites could pack such a powerful flavor.
Another “sea” course was the Chilean sea bass, that was under a crispy crepe served with a crispy leaves, sprouts, flowers and a milky berry sauce.
Transitioning from sea to land, the next course was memorable because it was served with a unique wine pairing. These horns were filled with red wine which paired well with our braised goat, cherries, plum leaves and beef broth.
The meal continued as one of my favorite courses was served.
This was a venison crudo with Chilean wine berries on top of homemade crackers served on a rock. The bag contained some freshly baked warm rolls.
After this venison berry mixture, we naturally transitioned into the dessert courses.
We started off nibbling on the small leaves on the branch which was accompanied by flavored ice: “Snow of the Andes”. This was BORAGó’s version of Tres Leches which featured donkey, goat and cow milk.
This course was something sweet, almost like a chewy nouget which was rolled in dried rose pedals.
This was the most memorable dessert because it was peanut butter and mushroom ice cream! The “dirt” on the plate was also mushroom dust to add to the experience.
The meal ended with a small cookie which we were instructed to eat immediately. As soon as we put it in our mouths, we tasted menthol and the dry ice in the cookie provided a final amusement of us trying to blow smoke rings.
We spent about 3 hours at dinner this evening. So plan on staying awhile if you are having the 18-course menu. Overall, BORAGó was a unique and oddly authentic experience. Talk about Farm to table, BORAGó puts other restaurants to shame by having their own garden 30 minutes down the street that each employee dedicates time to every day. Gardening, foreaging, exploring, cultivating, harvesting and locally sourcing are all part of the life blood that make up the experience at BORAGó. BORAGó’s flawless presentations and flavors will leave you wanting to visit Chile again very soon.
We highly recommend booking a reservation in advance of your trip! Pin the graphic below for future reference.