Good thinking, 99 Restaurant – Santiago
Good Friday probably is not the wisest of times to visit a restaurant in South America, but having just arrived from the airport and feeling the vague dis-orientation of jet lag the Foodie Mookie crew set out to try the first of Santiago best dining. Arriving after a short drive from the accommodation, Mookie is welcomed at 99’s iron filigree gate and shown to a table outside on the terrace. The staff immediately present a glass of local cider – very welcome and the very traditional bread, salt and butter that brings back memories of previous visits to South America. Having heard the options for dinner Mookie chooses the 9 course set with local wine match.
99 is a casual restaurant designed with consideration on presentation of local Chilean ingredients in dishes in beautiful display on superb stone and ceramic wear. The restaurant is the brainchild of Kurt Schmidt (ex Noma, Azzurmendi and Borago) and Gustavo Saez (Latin America’s best pastry chef 2016). The laid back style fits the feel of the restaurant with its cosmopolitan street frontage and alfresco dining area and eclectic dining wear.
In some instances the savory courses presented flavours that were not as well balanced or in which the primary ingredient was outshone.The standout savory dish of the evening was the octopus, eggplant and grilled garlic; though the modern interpretation of a traditional Chilean soup, pantrucas, was also very warming in the chilly air with its rabbit meat and pasta bringing back memories of childhood. For Mookie, however, by far the better part of the meal were the desserts – all 3 were excellent and the beetroot was superbly balanced and exceptionally pretty in its presentation. The wine match was interesting for any connoisseur of natural wines but the lack of knowledge of the presenter was obvious to Pookie. It was considerate, however, to translate the labels on the bottles for the benefit of the gringos.
99 is well worth attending if you happen to be in Santiago. Presentation and desserts are lovely and the casual environment is very relaxing for any weary travelers. If its feeling chilly, then Mookie would suggest that you request a seat inside to avoid the chill factor of the breeze on the terrace. Lovers of natural wines will find a good wine match with excellent expressions of local terriore.