Borago – A Culinary Journey Through Chile

Hailed as one of the top 50 restaurants in Latin America, ScrubySnacks couldn’t resist a visit to Borago during a recent trip to Santiago, Chile. Looking for real Chilean cuisine, we were particular excited to learn that Borago not only sourced its ingredients from all over Chile, but also used traditional cooking techniques that had been passed down from generation to generation.

The kitchen at Borago
The kitchen at Borago

Working under the incredibly talented chef and Chilean native Rodolfo Guzman, the team there regularly undergo ‘foraging’ excursions to source the freshest and most unusual native Chilean ingredients, which are subsequently included in their cutting-edge cuisine. During these expeditions, herbs, edible flowers and mushrooms are hand-plucked from the dramatic and diverse terrains which span the peaks of the Andes to the coastline of the Pacific. Even the water they use comes directly from the rain of Patagonia and their milk is produced by their very own herd of happy cows. For this reason, Borago’s menu is ever-evolving and entirely dependent on whatever they have collected during that particular time of foraging, so much so that the menu may even be altered between guest sittings.

First course - Sticks from the Sea
Squid ink Sticks from the Sea – completely edible!

As we sat down at our table for two, sipping on our Pisco Sours and soaking up the simplistic, earthy ambiance of the restaurant’s main dining room, we decided to leave no stone unturned (no pun intended), opting for the full 10 course set menu, described as a culinary journey through Chile.

Sea Urchin from Punta de Tralca with onion crisps
Sea Urchin from Punta de Tralca served with onion crisps

For the next 3 hours, we were gradually presented with dishes that one could easily mistake for exotic outdoor plants or highly decorative table ornaments. Delicate, delicious morsels of fresh, fragrant food were painstakingly presented on fragments of dark slate, balanced on rounded rocks and even nestled within the branches of miniature trees.

Crudo of Venison from Patagonia
Crudo of Venison from Patagonia
Chupe of wild mushrooms from Quintay
Chupe of wild mushrooms from Quintay
Quails nest
Quails nest
Rock fish with beach plants
Rock fish with beach plants

The Borago staff obviously relished in being part of the whole theatrical experience, happily providing instructions on exactly what to consume and how.  As each course arrived, it was impossible to resist the urge to ask once again if everything in front of us was indeed edible.

Cremoso of plants from the rocks with Jaiba Paco
Cremoso of plants from the rocks with Jaiba Paco

Each dish was accompanied by an elaborate story, setting the scene of where the ingredients originated. For instance, the veal was served with its mother’s milk that had been caramalised to give a crisp texture. The grass on which it was reared also featured as part of the dish, as well as an aromatic eucalyptus branch from very same pasture. The ‘Bitter bites of Atacama’ had been sculpted to look like the rock formations found it that very desert, and the ‘Puree of rock plants’ had been carefully formed to look like an actual rock.

Puree of rock plants, broth of roots of Kolof
Puree of rock plants, broth of roots of Kolof
Veal with caramalised mother's milk from Parral
Veal with caramalised mother’s milk from Parral
Bitter bites of Atacama
Bitter bites of Atacama

Never had we encountered cuisine that had been so meticulously thought out and presented in such an imaginative way, whilst also delivering on taste.

Pastel of milk from the Oveja Chilota
Pastel of milk from the Oveja Chilota
Maqui berries from Patagonia, which have 7 times more antioxidants than anything else out there
Maqui berries from Patagonia, which have 7 times more antioxidants than anything else out there

If you ever find yourself in Santiago, Borago is certainly a place you must experience, especially if you are looking for an entertaining, educational and eye-opening dining experience.

SCRUBYSNACKS RATING: 4/5

SCRUBYSNACKS TIP: Make sure you book a table at this highly acclaimed restaurant well in advance and ensure that you have plenty of time to work your way through each course. This is not a dining experience that can be rushed. If there is a group of you, it may be worth booking the private dining room for a more intimate affair.

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